19 October 2023 Meeting

NHS Health Care in Harpenden  - if you missed the public meeting the slides from the presentation can be found by clicking here.

Town’s healthcare in focus at Society’s Autumn meeting

Concerns over the healthcare of Harpenden’s growing – and ageing – population through the coming decade were addressed, at a Harpenden Society-organised public meeting in October, by Dr Bethan Rees, clinical director of the town’s Primary Care Network (PCN), set up in 2019.

Nearly ninety Society members and other townspeople in Katherine Warington School’s lecture theatre heard Dr Rees describe the changes being made to maximise healthcare resources locally, in particular by getting Harpenden’s three GP surgeries – Davenport House, the Elms and the Village Surgery – to work together in providing the town’s 44,000 would-be patients with the best care possible within necessarily finite NHS budget and manpower limitations. 

‘Enhanced patient access to medical services’ were, said Dr Rees, at the top of a list of ongoing PCN priorities, followed by ‘medication reviews’, ‘enhanced health in care homes’, ‘early cancer diagnosis’, ‘cardiovascular disease prevention and diagnosis’, ‘tackling neighbourhood health inequalities’, and what she called ‘anticipatory care’.

New technology would obviously play a vital role in maintaining and improving services. However, more doctors, nurses and ancillary medical personnel were clearly needed, locally as well as nationally. But, she said, the required funding was up against the fact that staffing costs now accounted for around one third of all NHS spending.

Indirect contributor components in the Harpenden PCN ‘team’ included ‘social prescribing’ – an approach designed to connect people to activities, groups, and services to meet the practical, social and emotional needs affecting their health and wellbeing. Dr Rees cited, as examples, local charities, social care and health services.

A packed audience watched the presentation in the comfortable and spacious Hall at Katherine Warington school
Victoria Collins,(left Lib Dem Candidate ) speaking with Dr. Bethan Rees and Ian Barrison from the Harpenden Society
Welcoming people in reception and issuing membership leaflets to non members