[ Lead page  | Categories  |  Archive ]

Sheffield Local Issues: New Darnall Community GP Surgery Health Centre Building

Darnall Community Health consistently ranks as Sheffield's bottom ranking GP Surgery as measured by the Department of Health funded UK GP Patient survey in terms of overall satisfaction at the quality of healthcare received. The last analysed survey for the period to March 2011 featured more than 5.5 million detailed questionnaires being sent out to NHS GP patients across England of which 1.96 million were returned. For the city of Sheffield a total of 68,242 questionnaires were sent out to the patients of Sheffield's 92 GP surgeries of which 26,193 were returned from which detailed results were compiled as listed in the table at the end of this article.

Sheffield's Bottom 5 GP Surgeries - % Level of Overall Satisfaction

<colgroup> <col width="215"> </col> </colgroup>

Darnall Community Health languishes firmly at the bottom of Sheffield's 92 GP surgeries with a wide gap against other GP surgeries as other bottom ranking surgeries improve, DCH showed little improvement on the 2009-10 GP Survey (68%). The full results for all 92 GP surgeries are at the end of the this article with the results for the year to March 2012 due during June / July 2012.

Post Code Lottery

The following map shows Sheffield's Top 15 and Bottom 15 GP surgeries as ranked by Sheffield patients. GP surgeries operate by means of NO competition for patients on the basis of a catchment area's which means most patients have no choice in the GP surgery they are registered with which is the primary reason for the huge disparity in the quality of services patents can be in receipt that is widely known to the public as the post code lottery.

Patients across England can check the patient rating of their GP Surgeries here

New Darnall Community Health Centre Three Year Wait

In recognition of the lack of performance, Sheffield PCT publicised during mid 2009 plans for a new £5.5 million medical centre to be built under the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) Development Scheme which is a private / public partnership that is tasked with dragging the NHS front line services into the 21st century by means of construction of new integrated one stop shop Super Surgeries premises along the lines of the 2009 unveiling of the City Centre GP Walk in Centre that my earlier analysis illustrates remains a fundamentally flawed project due to lack of competition for patients without which patients can expect to be in receipt of a worse quality of service as per actual real patient experiences against that suggested by self promoting glossy leaflets (18 Jan 2012 - Sheffield Broad lane NHS GP City Surgery Health Walk in Centre Real Patient Experience)

The original plan was for building work to commence in early 2010 and for the new centre to open by mid 2010.

Community 1st Sheffield (C1S) - 17th August 2009

The exciting plans for the proposed new Darnall Health Centre were unveiled in the existing surgery this week. Representatives from NHS Sheffield and Community 1st Sheffield were also on hand to speak to patients and local residents about the scheme and answer any questions.

The proposed new premises, which will be located on Main Road, Darnall, will replace the existing Darnall Community Health services in Darnall Road and York Road which have outgrown their premises as patient list sizes have grown.

The planned new state-of-the-art facility will house facilities for minor procedures, counseling and therapy services, physiotherapy, district nursing and health visiting, and Darnall well being service as well as GPs in a brand new purpose-built development.

The proposals are due to be submitted for planning by the end of August 2009 and, subject to the planning approval consent, it is anticipated that construction work will commence on the new premises in early 2010 with the building open to the public in early 2011.

New Darnall Medical Centre Status - June 2010

Unfortunately as the June 2010 article indicated and illustrated by the below photo, that the proposed site for the centre remained untouched as commencement of building work was still awaiting final signing off from the Strategic Health Authority (NHS Yorkshire & the Humber) which expected to take place during September 2010, which means that the earliest construction could have commenced was during late 2010 and therefore the earliest that the centre would have been expected to open by was Mid 2011.

New Darnall Medical Centre Status - Feb 2011

However 8 months on in Feb 2011, patients instead of having a new health centre to visit, were instead met by a site that remained untouched as the below photo illustrates.

New Darnall GP Health Centre Construction - Jan-March 2012

Now, nearly 2 years behind schedule there is activity at the site as construction containers started appearing during January 2012 with construction of the super structure well under way by early March 2012. Therefore the centre appears on schedule to be completed and ready for patients by mid 2012, some 2 years late.

Will the New Health Centre Make Any Difference ?

The question being asked is will the new GP health centre make any difference towards improvement in patient satisfaction at the quality of healthcare received ? As basically the keys to the new centre will be handed over to existing staff who have demonstrated bottom ranking performance year in year out. Therefore It is highly likely that real patient experience will replicate that of those using the city centre GP super surgery as it will still lack the fundamental driver for improvement which is competition for patents between GP surgeries rather than operating as local take it or leave it monopolies where the patient effectively has no choice.

Therefore in my opinion the NHS has just done what the NHS does best which is to throw millions in tax payer monies at a problem, rather than use sustainable mechanism's such as market competition for patients to drive improvement in quality of health service delivery, something which GP's will never agree to. The UK GP patient survey results to March 2013 will answer the question on whether or not the NHS just wasted £5.5 million+ of tax payers money.

By Nadeem Walayat

Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved