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
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.
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.
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
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.