I read with interest Jessica Lee’s column in last week’s paper, in which she made some fairly derogatory comments about the work we have been doing to get a train station for Ilkeston. I will take no lectures from Ms Lee on this matter. As a train driver for over 23 years I know and understand the railway industry. The county council has been working tirelessly for many years to bring a train station to Ilkeston. Gradually we found support from the railway industry, train operators and finally the Government managed to find some money to add to the £1m sum we have put aside to build it. Of course, we knew all about the newts found when we built Millership Way. This was why we commissioned a full environmental report from independent specialists. These specialists told us that the site of the new station was not a suitable habitat for the species and there was only a very low risk that they would be found. But just to make sure we carried out some checks of the site in April, and this was when one great crested newt was found. There is no point looking for newts a year before you start on site – you need to look just before you are about to start on site. But the newt is only part of the story of the delay. We have been asked to put in further measures to prevent the very small risk of flooding to the car park. This we were only aware of when we were given planning permission in March. Finding an engineering solution to this issue has taken us time – and we need to find the money to do these extra works. This has added to the delay far more than the newt. Building a station is a complex civil engineering project and we’ve needed to work with many organisations. We’ve had a number of set-backs which were beyond our control. We understand that the delay is frustrating for local people. It’s frustrating for us. But more frustrating for me is that one of our local MPs doesn’t take the time to ask us what’s happening before she criticises our work publicly. Take it from the train driver rather than the MP, without the work being done by Derbyshire County Council there would be no possibility of a train station for Ilkeston. We’re doing all we can to resolve the difficulties this project faces and I’m confident we will succeed.
Cllr Andy Botham,
Derbyshire County Council
Demand is always high
I write in response to the lead story in the Advertiser last week (‘Shock over GP waiting times’). I am writing on behalf of our own practice at Littlewick in Ilkeston but probably most GP surgeries in the country. I have been in general practice for more than 25 years and the issue of appointments has always been a problem of trying to create capacity for the demand. I welcome the new initiatives by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Government. As a practice we have always tried to look at what we can change and do differently to enable people to get seen by the appropriate person at an appropriate time. Like many practices we do have same-day appointments by both emergency nurse practitioners and GPs. We have many which are released on the day so when the normal appointments run out for anything urgent they will be seen by the end of that working day. Anything that is non-urgent can again sometimes be dealt with on the same day when people ring in at 8am and get a same-day appointment. Or if not they can be offered an appointment at some point in the future. To maintain continuity of care with the registered or usual doctor, then this may mean a wait, especially if there is annual leave. Like many practices we do offer extended hours before and after the core hours of 8am to 6.30pm. Our earliest appointments begin at 7.10am and our latest ones are 7.20pm. We feel this gives us a broader range of options for people who might be at work in Nottingham or Derby or elsewhere in the day. We also have recently brought in a dedicated home-visiting doctor which means a different GP will be involved in the morning from 8am doing home visits until midday to ensure this vital bit of GP care can continue to those in nursing homes, residential homes and those who may be terminally ill or permanently housebound. Another fact affecting access is what we call the DNA rate. Unfortunately some patients do not attend their appointments and do not ring to cancel. This might mean that more than 100 appointments per month are lost due to this. I think it is widely known that eight per cent of NHS funding comes into primary care. I have been informed that 90 per cent of all consultations are occurring in primary care. Clearly a lot of work is done with little resources and we would welcome initiatives and interventions from government to resource the infrastructure and manpower of primary care.
Littlewick Medical Centre
Nottingham Road, Ilkeston.
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