NHS Patient Survey on “Improved Access to GP services” in Devon

If you want to have your say on “improved access” to GP services in Devon there is a survey you can fill in here:


What they really want to know is whether patients would be prepared to see another GP from another practice in another area out of normal office hours, how far they would be prepared to travel and by what means.

Work for HS2 and enjoy parties and gym membership!

“HS2 Ltd has been accused of wasting “eye-watering” sums of taxpayers’ money as it emerged that the government-owned company spent almost £54,000 on gym memberships and £6,360 hiring party photo booths.

The spending by the company building the high-speed rail line was revealed in official financial returns. Analysis showed that £640,000 was spent on aerial promotional films and £96,712 went on an HS2 “pop-up shop” at Euston station.

The Times previously revealed that HS2’s total spending reached £5.5 billion even before full construction of the line has started. The equivalent of one-tenth of the project’s entire £55.7 billion budget has been spent in the last nine years as part of preparations for Europe’s biggest infrastructure project.

The latest figures prompted fresh accusations that spending on the scheme was out of control.

HS2 will eventually link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, with the Y-shaped network due to open fully by 2033. The first phase of the line between London and Birmingham is expected be completed in 2026, with extensive work already under way.

An HS2 Ltd spokeswoman said: “HS2 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Britain’s economy and we are committed to delivering value for money for the taxpayer. We have a duty to inform and consult people and communities affected by a project of this size.”

Penny Gaines, chairwoman of the Stop HS2 group, said: “These figures show the eye -watering scale of expenditure. This spending is funded entirely from the taxpayer. If it hadn’t gone on HS2 it could have been used for other priorities, such as schools or the NHS.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

“Sidmouth doctor speaks out over struggling GPs and lack of extra funding”

“A struggling Sid Valley GP surgery missed out on extra funding after it all went into secondary care, prompting a Sidmouth doctor to speak out.

Doctor Joe Stych, a practice partners at Sid Valley Practice, has voiced his frustration after a funding bid was denied to redevelop Blackmore Health Centre which was rated as ‘unfit-for-purpose’, by regulators the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Dr Stych said Sidmouth GPs had been working hard on a plan to future proof GP services in Sidmouth for the last two years.

The latest setback follows the disappointment in 2016-17 when a plan to buy and redevelop the centre was turned down.

Dr Stych said a plan to extend the Beacon Medical Centre and move GP services from Blackmore Health Centre to Sidmouth Victoria Hospital was proposed, helping support the hospital’s medical Ward.

He added: “It was ranked by Devon CCG as the third highest priority project for funding needed locally, but it was overlooked.

“Funding went to the first, second, fifth and eighth ranked projects.

“All funding in Devon has gone to secondary care.

“No funding has been assigned to struggling GPs.

“It is ludicrous that this scheme has been unsuccessful. It makes no sense to me.

“It would increase capacity and improve patient care at the same time as saving the NHS money.

“The overall scheme cost was small at £1.3million but would have made a huge difference.”

Dr Stych said the Government had since revealed its ‘10 year plan’ for the NHS with focus on moving more work out of hospitals into GPs and the community.

He added: “Without the infrastructure to support existing health services, let alone an expansion into the community, even more challenging times lay ahead.

“The reality is that we are already working at capacity and have no room to expand.

“We are already limited in what we can achieve by space constraints.”

He said the practice has an enthusiastic team with GPs in extended roles, operating on skin cancer and performing carpal tunnel operations so patients do not have to travel to Exeter.

They are involved in research to offer new and developing treatments to patients and train medical students and junior doctor.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The latest round of funding applications were highly competitive and the funding was prioritised on the strength of bids received from local NHS teams.

“The Devon STP (Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) will benefit from more than £50million to transform services for patients.”

The spokesman added that the funding was not allocated proportionally but on the strength of bids received.

Each was evaluated against six criteria – deliverability, service and demand management, transformation and patient benefit, financial sustainability, value for money and estates.

The Devon funding will go towards University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust – with £29.7million going to transforming urgent and emergency care, £9.3million to Devon imaging facilities and £3.5million to digital histopathology.

A further £8million was given to Devon Partnership NHS Trust for adult acute mental health service across Devon.

The spokesman said: “GPs are the bedrock of the NHS, and the ‘long term plan’ makes clear our commitment to the future of GPs, with primary and community care set to receive £4.5billion more in real terms a year by 2023/24.

“Last year a record 3,473 doctors were recruited into GP training and the new five year contract for GPs will see 20,000 more staff working in GP practices – helping free up doctors to spend more time with the patients who need them.”

A spokesman for the NHS in Devon said: “The Sidmouth scheme was a high priority for the Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and we are still working with the practice and our partners to explore other options.”


The many drawbacks for buyers using Help to Buy (as well as greedy developer rip-off prices)

” … One of the biggest drawbacks of Help to Buy is that if you choose to sell up, the Government will ask for its 40% stake back. But with house prices falling in inner cities, Kim says this isn’t necessary bad. “Upon selling the property, if it does make a loss then the Government will absorb 40% of the loss made,” she said.

“One of the biggest benefits is the number of companies now offering the scheme. There were plenty of options all over London.”

But she says, bear in mind that after five years you will have to start paying back the interest – and your current salary is taken into consideration for this.

The government loan is interest free for the first five years. After that the borrower is charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. That fee then increases every year at 1% above inflation.

“You also can’t sub-let a buy to let property” she adds.

“This means that everyone living in the building is an owner – minimising any risks of investors renting neighbouring flats to frequently changing tenants. But bear in mind, you will have to pay a ground fee.”

However, while being unable to sub-let means you’ll be able to build a community with local residents, if you choose to move out, the only option you have is to sell up.

This, she says, means she won’t be able to work abroad or travel in the near future, as she’d not be able to rent the property to pay off her mortgage in the meantime.

Speaking of the drawbacks, she added: “Any profit made upon selling the flat will be shared with the Government – you’ll keep 60% and pay back 40% of the total amount made from the sale.”

“The Help to Buy scheme has been a very beneficial for first time buyers who otherwise would not be able to get on the housing market. But due to the complex nature of the equity stake from the Government, buyers do need to go into this with their eyes open,” explained Richard Campo, manager at mortgage advisor Rose Capital Partners.

“We have seen eye watering ground rent and service charges to the degree where lenders were declining mortgage applications due to the prospect of high future rises and subsequent concerns on affordability on the mortgage.

“Even the introduction of leasehold houses was only stopped by developers when mortgage lenders refused to offer products for these properties.

“The loan offered on Help To Buy is set as a percentage rather than a fixed amount, meaning if a house price doubles the loan would stay fixed, less any capital repayments, while the government would double it’s share (20% outside London, up to 40% in London). As such, serious thought needs to be given on how to exit or refinance down the line. …”