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31 MAR 2017

Further CCG Update

As Deer Park is set to close today, I have continued pressing Oxfordshire health bosses to extend services until the final independent review decision is made. I have also pressed for them to ensure that local practices are able to provide the much needed cover for Deer Park patients.

I have been assured by Oxfordshire health bosses that the Nuffield Health Centre will provide an immediate and necessary service for any unregistered patients needing health services. This will be provided from their surgery in Witney. All telephone calls to Deer Park will be automatically diverted to the patient services team, who will direct patients to the Nuffield centre if necessary. There will also be a sign on the door at Deer Park.

I have been in further contact with Oxfordshire health bosses today to emphasise the concerns of local people: that waiting times are increasing and patients are potentially being turned away from local surgeries. I will continue to do all I can to ensure Deer Park patients have access to the necessary services; if you have any specific incidents to report to me, please do so.

27 MAR 2017

CCG Update

I have spoken and met with David Smith from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group who assured me that they are aware of patients still on the list and are taking the following measures:

  • There will be a GP available at the surgery until 31st March to deal with any urgent issues that come up for patients who have not registered elsewhere. Following my conversation with David Smith he has asked the team to look at whether this can be extended.
  • The staff at Deer Park are phoning all remaining patients to urge them to register with another practice and will continue to do this until 31st March.
  • Virgin Care have confirmed that almost all the patients who are deemed vulnerable are now registered elsewhere. Families with young children have been considered a priority group for contacting.
  • All patients in care homes have been registered with other practices.
  • Once the practice is closed on 31st March, patients will still be able to register with a new GP at any point and will be able to be seen for urgent issues as soon as they register.
  • Immediate transfer of the online patient record between practices will be available for 6 months after closure, managed by the CSU. This means that important information about a patient's medical history and current conditions can be accessed straight away by the new GP on registration.
  • Registration packs from other practices are available at Deer Park and staff are assisting patients in completing them and also helping to register them online.
  • All local practices have open lists and are accepting any patients from Deer Park who live in their boundaries.
  • Information about practice boundaries is available on the OCCG website and that of Healthwatch. The patient services team is also advising patients who phone in about the practices covering their addresses.
  • The CCG is not able to assign remaining patients to other practices without their consent as the principle of patient choice is paramount. Given the determination of many patients to remain with Deer Park for as long as possible, attempting to impose registration elsewhere would not have been well-received.

I also pressed the need to keep the practice open until a decision is made by the IRP to ensure continuity of service should Deer Park remain open.

21 MAR 2017

Robert Courts MP asks the Secretary of State to press for an urgent decision over Deer Park Medical Centre

Today, I asked the Secretary of State for Health in the House of Commons to press the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to reach a decision regarding Deer Park Medical Centre at the earliest opportunity.

Read this exchange in full here.

20 MAR 2017

Robert Courts MP raises concerns about the safety of patients to the Secretary of State for Health

I have today further written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.  

I have stated concern about those 2500 patients who remain registered to Deer Park Medical Centre.  I have urged the Secretary of State to press the IRP to keep the practice open at least until a formal decision is made on 11th April 2017. 

It is unacceptable for Deer Park to be closed early, leaving 2500 patients without access to a GP, and unacceptable for it to close while the IRP is still investigating.

Read my letter in full here.

16 MAR 2017

Robert Courts writes to the Secretary of State about the IRP referral

Read this letter in full here.

I am pleased that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has now referred this matter to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel for review.

However, as you will read, I am very concerned that OCCG have not been required to stop closure proceedings.  I am also concerned that the decision made by the IRP will be too late for the practice, and merely be academic.

I sent this letter in response to the Secretary of State's letter to the Oxfordshire HOSC, responding as soon as it landed on my desk.

06 MAR 2017

Robert Courts meets with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health

I have met with Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State, to make clear the urgency of a review into the proposed closure of Deer Park Medical Centre and the enormous value of the surgery.

I was impressed with his knowledge of the matter from my earlier correspondence, and was crystal clear as to the urgency of the matter, with OCCG threatening closure at the end of this month.

I am confident that the Secretary of State will refer this matter for independent review and we will hear more shortly.

I understand the worry of patients who have been left in limbo and are fearing the worst for their surgery. I will of course look to keep constituents up to date with any further updates as soon as I learn of them.

01 MAR 2017

Robert Courts further writes to the Secretary of State for Health

Read my letter in full here.

Further to the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's letter to patients received today, and their further notice in the Witeny Gazette, I have written again for the Secretary of State for Health.

I have urged for this matter to be looked into urgently and have further emphasised how important this practice is to Witney, and made clear my concern for patients who are being left in limbo.

15 FEB 2017

Deer Park update

Further to the Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee's vote on 2nd February 2017, I know that this matter has now been officially referred by the Committee to Secretary of State for Health.

I have written to the Secretary of State asking him to look into this matter urgently due to the time pressures involved.  It is so important that a timeline is established, so that patients have security and stability.

I will of course post again when I receive further updates.

02 FEB 2017

HOSC unanimously vote to refer Deer Park Medical Centre to the Secretary of State for Health

I am pleased the Deer Park closure has been referred. I had urged the Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to vote to register the closure of the surgery a substantial change, which would see the matter referred to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt for review.

Witney is a growing town, which is likely to have significant development in the coming years. There are already 4,500 people being treated at the surgery, to say nothing of the thousands more if Witney expands.

Read the full story in the Oxford Mail here.

01 FEB 2017

Judicial review case dismissed

I have just learnt the Judicial Review case, lodged by a Deer Park patient against the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has been dismissed.

It is therefore vital that the Oxfordshire HOSC vote on Deer Park tomorrow, as there is clearly now no bar to voting.

31 JAN 2017

Robert Courts MP writes to HOSC urging them to vote on Deer Park

Ahead of the meeting of the Oxfordshire Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee, I have written to HOSC urging them to vote formally on whether the proposed closure of Deer Park is a substantial chance in service.  I have also urged that in this vote, members should vote to pass this motion, thus formlly referring this to the Secretary of State for Health for consideration.

Residents have made clear in the strongest terms that they deplore the closure of this vital and efficient surgery, and I entirely agree.  There are 4,500 patients currently treated at Deer Park who will have to be dispersed elsewhere, increasing waiting times at already overstrentched services.  That is before we consider the significant increase in housing that is expected in the surrounding area in the coming years, that is likely to take the numbers up significantly ti make this a sizeable surgery in due course.

I urged that the ongoing judicial proceedings should not be a barrier to voting.  HOSC has separate, distinct scrutiny powers and is able to take its own decisions, independantly of this legal process.  If the Committee were to wait until its next meeting in March, it will be too late for action, as closure of Deer Park is due at the end of March.

I further urged the HOSC to find the proposed closure to indeed be a significant change in service provision.  West Witney and the surrounding villages are currently served by a well-regarded, well-run and popular surgery. 

I have asked for my letter to recorded in the minutes of the meeting on Thursday 2nd February 2017.

31 JAN 2017

Meeting with Deer Park Patient Participation Group

I have further met with representatives from the Deer Park Patient Participation Group to discuss the latest updates surrounding this closure.

I am grateful for the Groups hard work locally to ensure this proposed closure is fully investigated.

I am continuing to do all I can as the Member of Parliament to fight for the decision for closure to be reconsidered.

25 JAN 2017

Deer Park Update

Since coming back to Parliament after Christmas, I have continued to raise the issue of Deer Park Medical Centre at the highest levels.

I have further written to the Secretary of State for Health, other health Ministers, NHS England and further written to OCCG.

I am grateful to all the work done by the Patient Participation Group in rally support from residents and continuing to raise this issue.

The decision to close this practice should not be taken lightly, with so little public consultation.  All avenues should be fully considered, with closure being the last possible outcome.  Patients should always be fully informed throughout this process; it is the uncertainty invovled, with patients wanting a guarantee about where they can receive their healthcare, that has made this such an empassioned issue.

28 DEC 2016

Robert's monthly column - There is nothing more important than health

I dedicated my second monthly column in the Witney Gazette to the issue of healthcare in West Oxfordshire.  I used this to draw claer attention to the proposed closure of Deer Park Medical Centre.


Read this article in full here.

07 DEC 2016

Robert Courts meeting with Minister about Deer Park

I met with the Minister for Community Health and Care, David Mowatt MP, to discuss the issue of Deer Park Medical Centre.  I stressed how passionate the people of Witney and the surrounding villages are and portrayed the strong desire to keep this practice open.

05 DEC 2016

MP for Witney meets with Virgin Care

I have today met with the current service provider at Deer Park Medical Centre, Virgin Care, to discuss and explore ways the practice might be kept open.

Patients are happy with the service they receive from Virgin Care, who offer services such a walk in centre.

It is important to get these main stakeholders back around the table to see if there is a better solution.  Closure is a decision which should never be taken lightly.

30 NOV 2016

Robert's monthly column - Settling in and getting to grips with issues

I chose in my first column for the Witney Gazette to mention the issue of Deer Park.  As I wrote, there is nothing more important than the health of you and your loved ones.

Read this article in full here.

25 NOV 2016

Meeting Deer Park Patient Participation Group

I met with representatives from the deer Park Patient Participation Group to discuss the proposed closure of Deer Park Medical Centre.

I was grateful for their detailed update on this matter and I certinaly understood their strong desire for the practice to remain open.

This is such an important practice. Although currently small, it looks set to grow with developements in Witney part of the emerging Local Plan.  I will continue to push all stakeholders to ensure that this matter has been fully considered.

10 NOV 2016

MP for Witney meets with Oxfordshire Health Bosses

Today, I met with representatives from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss the proposed closure of Deer Park Medical Centre.

This is a highly-valued service which residents do not want to see closed.  The proposed closure of a GP practice should never be taken lightly, and with such little public consultation.  

I urged the CCG to go back to the table with Virgin Healthcare, the current service providers, and renegotiate a way to keep the practice open.

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