Access to routine GP services set to extend to evenings and weekends

This is great news for local residents.

Patients with long-term health conditions, young people and shift workers are just some of the people expected to benefit from a planned extension to the availability of appointments at Somerset’s GP Practices.

Practices across the county have extended the times when appointments are available into the early evening and at weekends with a range of primary care clinicians.

The scheme fulfils a pledge made by the government in 2015 to improve access to primary care services, which they believe could eventually improve access to as many as seven million patients a year across England*.

All of Somerset’s 71 GP Practices are currently contracted to deliver primary care medical services in ‘core’ opening times from 8.00am until 6.30pm. Through this new national scheme patients registered at a Somerset GP practice will now also be offered appointments from 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Monday to Friday and some appointments over the weekend.

There are 10 groups of between 3 and 13 practices in each local group in Somerset working together to deliver this improved access to routine appointments at evenings and weekends for the local registered population. Health staff working evenings and weekends will have access to the patient’s medical records and will be able to provide the same high standard of care as patients would expect during normal opening times.

Patients who wish to book a routine appointment in the evening or weekend can do so by telephoning or visiting their own GP Practice from Monday to Friday between 8.00am and 6.30pm.

The receptionist will advise them of the time and location of their appointment. Patients will be advised at the time of booking that they may not be able see a GP or health professional of their choice and may need to attend their appointment at a neighbouring GP surgery.

Dr Ed Ford, a GP and Chairman of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Extending the availability of primary care appointments to the evenings and weekends should be a significant change for those patients who find it difficult to attend a primary care appointment during the day time.”

Somerset CCG wishes to remind people that the extension to routine GP services at evenings and weekends does not replace the current Somerset Out-Of-Hours Urgent Primary Care Service.

If patients or their family members become ill overnight or at the weekend and need medical advice or help outside of practice opening times, they should continue to call NHS 111.

Download patient FAQs

Adult social care initiative benefits local residents

I am proud to be supporting Community Connect – an initiative set up by Somerset Council.

Community Connect is an innovative approach to adult social care that is now benefitting local people and communities across the whole of Somerset. It is a partnership between community and voluntary organisations, Adult Social Care services and health services, who work together to provide advice and support to help people live as independently as possible in their community.

Community Connect can help people in many ways, including:

  • They can get information and advice quickly
  • They can get the support they need to stay independent
  • They can get help to find out what is happening in their community and meet new people
  • They can find out about volunteering opportunities
  • They can find out about equipment to support people to live at home.
  • If they are a carer, they can get advice and support to help with their caring role.

People can visit drop-ins across the county to have a conversation with someone and get quick and useful advice. They can speak to Community Agents and Village Agents (employed by the Community Council for Somerset), health professionals, Adult Social Care workers and community organisations, such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and volunteers.

Dates and venues of all the drop-ins can be found the Somerset Council website.

More information about Community Connect (download the Community Connect leaflet).

267 bus service to continue until at least April

I am thrilled that the decision has been taken not to axe the 267 bus service (Monday–Thursday evening service between Frome and Bath).

Funding support from Rode and Norton St Philip Parish Council has been key to maintaining the service. BANES council also gave financial support and the shortfall was picked up by First Bus.

With a bit more financial help, promotional support from other local councils, including Somerset County Council, we will have more time to promote the service and hopefully prevent the service being axed in April next year.

Watch this space!

Thank you and please keep in touch

Thank you to all my supporters who voted me in for a further four years in Somerset County Council, representing Frome North Division. I was thrilled to be voted in with a majority of 43%, taking 52% of your votes. Thank you so much. I must also thank everyone who worked with me in my election campaign.

I was so relieved to be able to carry on with the work I had already started or that is in progress. There are many things I have been working with the Parish Councils on and with Somerset County Council officers. We can now continue the work we started and achieve some outcomes.

It is not easy ensuring that local residents I represent actually get to know what work I am doing on their behalf. For many of you, it will feel like us councillors only show our faces at election time. Believe me when I tell you that I work every single day on council matters. The one thing I find I do not have the time to do, is to let you know what I am doing. But this point marks a change, as I have decided to ensure I keep time aside for this from now on.

There are over 7500 electors in the Frome North Division and getting information to you on a regular basis can generally only be guaranteed through delivering leaflets through your door. As you can imagine trying to deliver to more than 4000 homes in the villages and the North of Frome is a challenge in itself.

Most of my contact with the local community is through the Parish Councils; direct contact from residents; and my website. In addition, I have now set up this Facebook page to try and engage with my constituents even more than I already do. I want to use it to promote all the work we are doing here in Mendip and Somerset and welcome your feedback, your views and concerns.

Some of the areas I continue working on and supporting you with are:

• The retention of the 267 evening bus service;
• Highways and pedestrian safety issues across the division;
• To provide a link between the County Council and the community making your voice heard on issues that matter to you;
• Seeking solutions to fly tipping in the area.

Please follow my new Facebook page to keep up to date with my work.

You can trust Conservatives

Trust in us

Trust leaflet Conservatives v LibDems

In this election you have a clear choice. A choice between a financially prudent Conservative administration with a clear plan to improve the lives of all Somerset residents or the Lib Dems who have no plans for the County except to tax and borrow.

The Conservatives have frozen your council tax for 6 of the last 8 years. In comparison the Lib Dems when they were last in charge raised your council tax by 62%, at a recent Council meeting one of the Lib Dem Councillors even said that the Council should consider a 15% council at increase. Hard working Somerset residents simply cannot afford the Lib Dems.

The Lib Dems left the County Council £350 million in debt. They took out 50 year loans at high interest rates with massive early repayment penalties. We have worked hard to reduce this crippling debt but it still costs nearly £100,000 a day to service. If we did not have this debt, we would be able to invest more in Somersets services. The Lib Dems if elected in May want to start borrowing again. I would rather we spend more money on services, than interest paid to the banks.

The Conservatives are proud to have recruited over 50 new Childrens social workers. This is on top of the staff that are already employed. This provides better care to those children in the County who need it. The Lib Dems complain that we have spent money on agency staff fees. However agency staff are needed to care for our children and the elderly when are regular staff are unwell or retire and then only until we find a replacement. The Lib Dems appear to be suggesting that we should not employ agency staff, well in which case, can they tell me who they do not wish to care for?

Our Childrens services have been on an improvement journey and I pay credit to the hard working members of staff who have made this happen. The improvements have been recognized by Ofsted, the Government and other local authorities who we are now assisting improve their own childrens services.

The Conservatives are proud to have created the Somerset Rivers Authority to prevent future flooding throughout the County. In the 2014 floods over £147 million pounds of damage was done to the County. Road links from Mendip to Taunton and rail links to the South West were flooded. The Conservatives have managed to bring in £50 million to help prevent future flooding. The Lib Dems on the other hand, do not support the Somerset Rivers Authority and investing in protecting our homes, jobs and transport links.

Over the last four years the Conservative Administration has brought £200 million of investment into the County. This investment has paid for superfast broadband, new roads, new congestion reducing traffic schemes, new enterprise centres to help create jobs and apprenticeships and new community facilities. We have successfully sought this investment without borrowing any money.

Conservatives have successfully lobbied for £22 million of additional funding to our schools. We have freed schools of County Hall regulation and allowed them to do what they do best, teach. There is no coincidence, when we freed the schools of regulation, that school results, especially in GCSE have vastly increased.

We have presented a clear plan for the future to build a new University, homes for Somerset residents, new schools and jobs throughout our county. This is a plan, that Somerset needs to be competitive and to raise the standard of living for all its residents.

If you vote Lib Dem on 4 May you will pay vastly more council tax and the Council will have to pay of more debt. Somerset Conservatives care for you and the services the council provides. We have a track record of dealing with the issues head on and a clear plan for the future. I ask you to make a clear choice and vote for the party with the clear plan.

Kent residents supporting our campaign to use the 267 bus service

Many thanks to our friends from Kent, Leigh and Bev for supporting the 267 bus service. Instead of us ferrying them to and from the Bath railway station they used the 267 to get to and from Bath to Norton St Philip. The bus back to Bath was full of young people. The recent surveys highlighted how important bus services are to young people. Our challenge next week is to get our friends from Heswall to use the 267.Leigh & Bev on 267 to Bath Leigh & Bev catching the 2

Save the 267 evening bus service

Why are buses so important for Frome and the villages?

For so many, a bus is the only form of transport available. Even in homes that have a car, one or more members of the household often don’t have access to it as someone else is using it. So to avoid being isolated in market towns and rural villages, very many people are reliant on public transport, and for most, that’s the bus.

But it’s hard to make rural buses pay, so we need to encourage as many people in communities where there is a bus service to ‘BUS IT’ as often as possible to try and ensure those services continue.

I have battled alongside bus campaigners in Frome and the villages to win subsidies from Councils to maintain the midweek evening 267 bus. I am grateful that Frome, Beckington, Rode and Norton St Philip Councils have agreed to step in and make up the shortfall in funding so the service will carry on through to September.

We now need to try and ensure the bus service continues later this year. As this recent BBC report shows so many people depend on the Frome/Bath 267.  We got national coverage from the BBC when they used our 267 bus subsidy cuts to demonstrate what is a national problem.

Frome and the villages BUS it

Nervous wait for results of village green inquiry

Residents grateful for support

Residents in Norton St Philip have a nervous wait ahead as evidence is reviewed over the submission of an application for village green status for Shepherds Mead.

The five-acre meadow has been used for grazing, haymaking and recreation remaining unspoiled by cultivation for generations. The absence of intensive farming allows wild flowers and other plants to thrive, supporting an abundance of insects including bees, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies which provides a feeding habitat for birds, bats and small animals. Surrounded by dwellings on three sides and crossed by four public rights of way, the location and features of Shepherds Mead makes it a vital green space where village residents and their families enjoy nature.

It follows a four-year process during which Linda Oliver has worked doggedly, outside of her capacity as a councillor, with other residents of Norton St Philip, on gaining the successful application. Over the last two weeks, she and many others have given more than 36 hours of witness evidence at the inquiry. This is compared to just 15 hours of evidence from objectors.

Linda Villlage Green 2

Linda said: “I am eternally grateful for all the support from all our witnesses which has been overwhelming. Thank you. When local people have used land for a long time for informal recreation, they grow to love it, and they assume it will always be there. When it is threatened, they want to protect their rights to enjoy it and village green registrations is the means to record their rights. Communities may want some developments but they also want their ‘village greens’, which they have enjoyed for decades.  I am determined to fight any inappropriate development proposals across my ward.”

A decision on the application should be made in around two months.

Latest News March 2017

A summary of news to March 2017

You may have seen Somerset Voice (Spring 2017) which has some great news from the Conservative team in Somerset.

Here’s a brief summary:

Elections on 4 May – vote Linda Oliver

There’s a clear choice for residents on 4 May at our County Council elections.

Linda Oliver is your local choice for Frome North and Surrounding Villages

Somerset Voice states: Vote for investment in services, jobs, infrastructure and communicates; or return to the reckless build up of debt and gambles on risky investments putting our county’s future at risk.

Council leader John Osman says: “It is vital that we continue to invest in Somerset’s future success, do not return to crazy tax rises and borrowing ways, and that means voting Conservative on 4 May.”

More investment in transport infrastructure

Over the last four years, the Conservatives have built 19 miles of new roads and resurfaced a further 75 miles. We’ve surface dressed 4000 miles and repaired 78,000 potholes. There’s more to do and in the next four years, we’re dualling the A303 and A358, as well as making improvements to the M5.

The rail network is also important and we’re working to improve stations locally as well as promote new stations at Langport/Somerton and Wellington.

Locally in Frome North and Surrounding villages, public transport is close to my heart and I have worked tirelessly over the last year on the 267 bus service.

Supporting local people, young, old and vulnerable

Somerset County Council is providing more jobs and apprenticeships for local people and we are supporting adults who need care. Over the next four years you will see investment in enterprise centres, business parks, and an extra £16million in adult social care.

We’re also seeing unprecedented improvements in our GCSE results across the county as the Conservatives have invested £22 million extra funding to support Somerset schools.

Flood protection

£50million of investment has been made in Somerset to protect us against flooding in the future. There is a comprehensive plan for the next four years.

A clear plan for Somerset

The Somerset Conservatives have a clear, ambitious plan for the county that will be delivered to improve the lives of all Somerset residents. I hope to be a part of making this plan work.
You can read about the plan in detail in Somerset Voice Spring 2017.