19 APR 2010

Salcombe 19th April

This has been a day visiting businesses in Hannaford's Landing, Island Square and Fore Street. Hearing about the problems with the NHS dentistry contract and in particular the incentivisation of poor practice under the current payment system. Dr Kathryn Dunning, dental surgeon, explained that she has capacity to take on more patients but is not funded to do so, even though many local patients are currently having to travel to Kingsbridge for NHS treatment.

For the team at Pebbles of Salcombe, the number one priority is affordable housing, with the level of rents and housing costs making it impossible to live in Salcombe. They then suffer the further disadvantage of rocketing fuel costs and infrequent or slow public transport. Not feeling listened to was the main reason cited for not registering to vote.

At one small business, the situation was summed up: ‘I'm working my guts out and not getting anything back'. With a 43% increase in business rates, the effect of skilled staff on prolonged leave, plus escalating fuel and parking costs, the question was raised, ‘Who is creating the wealth to pay for everything.'

At an open meeting at Holy Trinity Church, the main issue was the NHS and in particular concerns about GP out of hours services. The current system was felt to be unresponsive, with two of those present reporting that they had had to call an ambulance as the current GP out of hours service was overstretched. People at the meeting wanted to be able to see an out of hours GP more locally. Targets and admission to inappropriate wards, together with examples of poor continuity of care were all issues raised about Derriford Hospital. Whilst the NHS is held in great affection there was a sense of unease that standards of care are slipping.

After a fascinating trip to the the tourist information centre and the wonderful Maritime Museum and a stop for the outstanding crab soup at the Victoria Inn, it was time for more canvassing. Particular thanks to Emma and Sarah for their first hand insights into the crisis of affordable housing shortages in Salcombe.

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