with a GP, youmay nowbe advised to see another qualifiedmember of the surgery team(DownsMail feature, February).Howshould you react? Insist – and youwill almost certainly

Doctorswon’t see you now, sir MailMarks

WHEN requesting an appointment


be given a GP appointment. But current delaysmay concern you. Ourmost significant requirement of

GPs is diagnostics and at a timewhen we are short of doctors (especially in Kent),we need tomaximise availability of this vital skill for all patients in all surgeries. We are used tomaking GP

appointmentswithout questioning, but thismaywell not apply in future. Receptionists are being trained to request our reasons and, if appropriate, invite us to see initially another professional instead. This could be, for example, a practice

nurse, physiotherapist, paramedic or clinical pharmacist. Such help or advice is likely to be availablemuchmore quickly. I think theNHS ismaking the right

decision, but it is not danger free. Many see a close relationshipwith

their own GP as important and comforting, andwe talk to themfreely. They get to knowuswell, read our minds and faces, pick up on li�le clues and can tellwhen things need investigating or advice should be offered. Theremust no friendly divorce

between GPs and patients, especially those in vulnerable age groups. Itwill be a delicate balancing actwhich needs careful consideration. I think, however, thatmanywill agree

GPs are not necessarily our first port of call at a surgery andwe can sensibly

My view on court action

RE Cllr FranWilson’s le�er “Facts behind legal action”, it is one viewand, sadly, indicates aworryingly selectivememory. Years ago, CllrWilson a�ended a

transportationmeetingwhen she claimed therewas insufficient time to include provision for a Leeds Langley relief road in the Local Plan formore housing. She also failed to recall how, as part of

the local plan process, that Kent County Council andMaidstone Borough Council jointly commissionedAmey to provide an impact study on additional housing. Amey’s report stated traffic congestion

in south eastMaidstonewas among the worst the officer had seen anywhere in the country. The officer indicated itwas Amey’s viewa relief road could reduce traffic flows along the Su�on Road by as much as 25%. Thatwas over three years before the planwas finalised andwhy I have always

46 Maidstone East March 2019

help reduce pressure to the overall benefit for all patients and GPs. I believe I can.My GPwould likeme

to have a blood test about every three months and I see her for an assessment of results. But I suspect anothermember of the surgery teamcan give an expert assessment and referme tomy GP only if necessary. This is just one small example. Other time-saving options are

becoming available too. GPs increasingly speak to patients on the telephone or by Skype or FaceTime. This saveswhat can be long, difficult, time-consuming and expensive journeys for patients too. We are in a time of very big changes in our GP surgeries.

Brexit saga 

.... Hopefully, the prolonged Brexit saga is drawing to a close. I knowthat is the wish of somanyDownsMail readers, especially business people, appalled by theway it is being handled both by our politicians and the EU. Maidstone (58%), Kent and theUK

voted for Brexit andMembers of Parliament then kept voting powerfully to honour the referendumdecision. But toomanyMPs have since failed us. There could be only one referendumwinner – and I fumewhen I hear someMPs say even nowthewishes of the losersmust be honoured too. TomisquoteWinston Churchill:

“Never has somuch damage been done

contended itwas ama�er of insufficient will rather than insufficient time! The evidencewas there for a relief road,

butMBCchose to ignore it and funded the alternative but restricted survey byMo� McDonald to substantiate the viewthat all thatwas requiredwas some junction improvements, and a newbus lane along the Su�on Road. It seems thatMBC remains irrevocablywedded to “modal shift” as the solution to our traffic ills. It is akin to taking an aspirin to cure cancer. Regarding the funding of the current

relief road feasibility studywith £200,000 that the highway authority (KCC) took fromdeveloper contributions S106monies (designed for highway purposes) and which is seemingly the reason forMBC’s High Court action against KCC, Cllr Wilson implies that the use of thismoney was a unilateral decision on the part of the highway authority. She fails tomention in 2015 that KCC renegotiated, sought and received the

to somany by so few.” I amamongmanywho admire some

remarkable qualities in our Prime Minister, but she is the leader of this “few” submerged by fear over the last three years and not benefits of leaving a failing EUand driving and organising for exciting challenges of opportunity seen by the people. If only… She hasmade somanymistakes and

lost the trust of just about everybody. She has been driven by remainer cabinet members and put remainer civil servants in charge of negotiating an appalling withdrawal agreementwhich is both a surrender document to the EUand a remainers’ charter. Did this small coterie of plo�ing

remainers really expect to fool all the people all the time? Nowonder the EUis nowfurious.

With co-operation fromthe plo�ers, it thought itwas ge�ingmost of its own way. The PrimeMinister has sidelined to

extinction two Brexitministers and bullied and bulldozed through at both Chequers and the subsequent decision- makingmeeting thewithdrawal agreementwithout allowing her full cabinet proper time for required detailed consideration of a vital and complex 500- plus page legal document. Shewanted, too, to bypass a

Parliament she should have involved months ago – but that has nowapplied a massive veto. Shewould like nowto restrict imposed changes to the Irish backstop. But I think BrexiteerMPswill demand very vital changes on top of that. Belatedly thewill of the people seems

to be ge�ing home tomoreMPs. I still recognisemuch local optimism– but what an awful journey.

agreement fromthe developerswho paid thismoney that it could be used for this purpose. CllrWilson also overlooks that this agreementwas placed into the public domainwhen itwas reported to the Joint Transportation Board. Not only that, but at the first hearing in

theHigh Court the eminent judge,Mrs Justice Lang said: “Inmy view, the claimant has not presented arguable grounds that the defendant’s decisionwas unlawful. The defendant is acting pursuant to its statutory powers.” On appeal, a deputyHigh Court judge

threwout three of the grounds thatMBC was arguing, but the councilwas given leave to revise the remaining three arguable grounds to be heard inMarch. If there is awish to resolve thema�er of

the £200,000,maybeMBCmight be prepared to comment onwhat I believe to be the case, that onmore than one occasion KCC has offered to repay the £200,000 in full and fund the feasibility


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