A group aimed at ensuring high standards of healthcare across Suffolk is hoping to improve further and appealing for volunteers to get involved.
Healthwatch Suffolk was launched in April this year, and on Tuesday (December 10) chief executive officer Annie Topping spoke to Haverhill Town Council at its arts centre meeting to explain how the group has fared so far.
Ms Topping described the body, which has around 2,800 members, as a ‘consumer champion’, stating its remit to target better outcomes in healthcare, provide information and advice about services and view premises where public healthcare is provided to check it is up to scratch.
“We know GP access is an issue, particularly with Winter pressure and people going to A and E if they can’t see a GP,” said Ms Topping.
After hearing her presentation there were concerns raised about town healthcare.
Suffolk County Cllr for Haverhill East and Kedington Tony Brown said: “There seems to be a myraid of organisations to look after Suffolk and I’ve been to numerous meetings where they all say things but nothing changes and it’s about time we saw some results.
“They get the same feedback at meetings time and again but there’s no movement on the ground.”
Cllr Julian Flood, for Haverhil Cangle, said: “I have the impression Haverhill is badly serviced compared to other large towns in Suffolk.
“Thetford in Norfolk seems to get a better deal somehow and it seems Haverhill is not being looked after as well as others.”
Former mayor Pat Hanlon said: “A big, big problem we have in Haverhill is sometimes if you want to see your own GP you have to wait six weeks – you can see any other but not yours, which is absolutely disgusting and somethiong needs to be done about it.”
Cllr Mary Martin raised concerns about the lack of ambulance cover in the town.
Ms Topping said: “Groups are getting involved, and the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will pick up some of these issue and have already.
“They have the commitment and are desperate to make some real impact as so much needs to change and we need to start from somewhere with something simple and build on that.”
Town mayor Roger André said apologised if any of the comments had come across as an attack, and said: “I hope what you take from this is the impression that Haverhill cares deeply about its health services.”
To have your say or get involved with Healthwatch Suffolk, call 01449 703949, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.healthwatchsuffolk.co.uk
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (December 19) Echo.