Following the closure of the Folkestone East GP practice at the beginning of this month, I have asked the South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to give the me the latest figures for the reallocation of patients to their new surgeries. As of Monday this week, 3,772 people have been allocated to a new GP and practice, and a further 400 patients have registered for their new surgery are in the process of being formally transferred – making a total of 4,172 patients that have either been reallocated or who are in the process of moving. As I have written in this column before, please let me know if you have registered for a new surgery but not heard back from the CCG. Equally, if you have not responded at all to the requests from the CCG that you indicate your preferred new surgery it is important that you do so, as you have to give your consent to being transferred to a new doctor. Any patient who has not yet been registered at a new practice, has the right to seek treatment from any local surgery, which they are required to deliver under the terms of their contract with the NHS. Despite the closure of the Folkestone East practice, the CCG is working to ensure that all residents will maintain full access to local GP services, and be included on the register of a local surgery. More funding has been made available to support local practices, both directly in the funding per patient they receive, and in the commissioning of additional services to conduct home visits, and provide walk in and emergency care through the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Last Friday I visited both Brabourne and Aldington primary schools. At Brabourne I was delighted to be invited to speak to all of the pupils during their morning assembly and then to answer a wide range of interesting and thoughtful questions. At Aldington, as part of my tour, I was particularly interested to visit the forest school area in the school’s grounds. Each year group spends lesson time once a fortnight in the forest school space throughout the year, where they learn many practical and outdoor skills. Forest schools are popular in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, and I know other local schools have taken an interest in Aldington’s innovative approach.
On Sunday I attended the Remembrance Day service at the war memorial in Hythe. It was excellent to see, once again, such an excellent turn out of people of all ages, to pay their respects to those servicemen who gave their lives for the freedom of others in the two world wars, and in other more recent conflicts. This shows that even as the living memory of the deeds of those terrible wars starts to pass, they are no less important to the people of our country today.
This Friday is the opening night of the Folkestone Book Festival, which runs until 26th November. I hope you get the chance to attend one of the many excellent events. You can find out more through the festival website www.folkestonebookfest.com