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PARISH COUNCIL NEWS

October 2005

The holiday season is now over and the children are back to school. The many village organisations including the Parish Council is back to work again. Since our last report with pictures there has been only one committee meeting on the 8th Sept but we have had a very important Parish Council meeting on the 14th September to report.

Fate of Knebworth Surgery discussed
Because of a growing number of residents’ fears over the rumoured closure of our village surgery a special ‘open forum’ was the first and principal subject of this full Parish Council meeting. Due to the interest in this subject and a lot of advertising of the meeting well over 160 members of public were seated in the Village Hall with more standing behind when the meeting started. This in itself is a record. Two Primary Care Trust (PCT) representatives and our local MP Barbara Follett had been invited to the meeting to hear the PCT explain their plans for the future and more importantly hear for themselves the worries and concerns of the residents of Knebworth.

National Policy
The Primary Care Trust is the responsible authority for the planning and the delivery of the Health Service. Their opening remarks stressed that the planning to deliver a 21st Century care was a complicated and lengthy process. It is a National Policy to provide enhanced Primary Health Care across the Nation and therefore the need is to identify where, what, who and how to provide this. This long process was just commencing. It would be at least three years before plans began to emerge but feedback was being sought from all sources along the way.

Enhancing services
It was explained that our current surgery just didn’t have the facilities required for the future needs. General Practice as a profession was changing in delivery as their role was evolving for an increased range of services. A base of some 20,000 to 40,000 patients was the aim for an Enhanced Primary Care Centre able to provide this service. To move towards this objective some talks had taken place to look at the possibility of merging some four of the present practices to reach this population size. A larger number of doctors could provide a wider range of specialised services. It was confirmed that possible locations near the Stevenage Football ground had been noted

Public debate
After the outline of their forward thinking Mr John Bantick our Chairman then asked the public to voice their concerns and worries. Many concerns were expressed, both by the young and the elderly, as it was felt very strongly that a surgery within walking distance in the village was essential. One Parish Plan result had given a 97% support to this view. It was also refuted that this was all about money. It was a genuine attempt to address the long term future and to deliver a better service than now, driven by and answerable to, the users of the service. There will be a fuller report of this meeting in the ‘Minutes of the meeting’ which, as usual, can be read in the Library and they will also be available from the Clerk (01438 813795).

Barbara Follett MP responds
After this public consultation forum Barbara Follett answered questions from councillors and gave her support to the possible retaining of both a local presence and also the improved facilities of an enhanced Health Centre. Mr John Bantick thanked the guests and the public for attending and contributing to this very successful meeting and undertook that the Parish Council would continue to pursue this matter of concern to the village.

CCTV Live at Last!
Hooray! it can be reported that at last, whilst this report is being written, our CCTV cameras with Number Plate Recognition Facility have now at last been installed. A long wait but better late than never.

John Bland 01438 812135

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To contact Knebworth Parish Council please email
Claire Graham, Parish Clerk
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