The future of health and social care services in Rugby came under the spotlight at a packed meeting of scores of professionals and service users.
The ‘already inadequate services’ coupled with the continued planned growth of the borough was among the primary concerns at the meeting, organised by Healthwatch Warwickshire.
Rugby is already without an A&E department and maternity unit and residents said they were still reeling over the loss of Brownsover Medical Practice and Albert Street Medical Practice, while the council’s local plan sets out plans for 12,400 extra homes across the borough over the next 15 years.
Concerned residents said it was ‘already impossible’ to access A&E and maternity services in Rugby and in many cases patients are forced to travel elsewhere, such as University Hospital in Coventry.
This can lead to further issues including cost, time and transportation which can be difficult for people without a support network, who receive no other help in getting to and from the hospital unless they fit a certain set of criteria.
Other issues flagged up during the meeting included the rise in hospital car park charges, the reduction in mental health services, the trend of ignoring the physical health of mental health patients and the lack of support given to carers.
The event was one of a series of workshops taking place across the county between November last year and April this year. The idea is to find out what aspects of health and social care are working well, and those that are not, and to gauge public opinion on the changes they feel need to be made in order to accommodate their needs.
Once all the meetings have taken place Healthwatch Warwickshire will compile a report which will go before key decision makers in health and social care.
Chris Bain, Chief Executive of Healthcare Warwickshire, said: “There is currently a culture of health and social care which needs challenging. The aim of these workshops is to get to the heart of the issues facing health and social care and clearly in Rugby one of the many concerns was the shrinking health service against the backdrop of an expanding borough. Another common theme that came across was that many people either didn’t like to, or didn’t feel they could, challenge the decisions made in the best interests of their welfare.”
Mr Bain said many there were many positive aspects to the meeting, such as the availability of same day appointments with GPs, the accessibility of urgent care through Rugby’s walk-in centre, the provision of a voluntary transport service and a good service in particular when patients or service users show assertiveness. Another meeting will take place at Rugby College, on March 10. Call 01926 453964 for more information.
Another meeting, hosted in partnership with the Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership (WREP), will take place in The Conference Suite at Rugby College, on March 10.
The final meeting will take place at The Presbytery in Dormer Place, Leamington, on Thursday, April 14.
If you are unable to make the meetings but would like your say on services, click here or call 01926 453964.