Seven of Norfolk Constabulary’s Public Enquiry Offices (PEOs) will close as part of plans for future policing in the county.
This follows the most extensive review of the service in the force’s history leading to a new model fit for 21st century policing based on the changing nature of crime and future financial challenges.
An in-depth review into how frequently members of the public visit the PEOs found a drop in use and in addition that the majority of the demands of the footfall attending could be met elsewhere.
As part of the savings required owing to reductions in the Constabulary budget, the decision was taken by Chief Officers to close the PEOs achieving £320,000 worth of savings. The PEOs will officially close on 31 March 2018. However, all will remain open as operational bases for police officers and staff.
Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Norwich (Bethel Street) PEOs will remain open. Their opening hours from 1 April 2018 are:
· Mon – Wed: 9am – 5pm
· Thurs – Sat: 9am - 6pm
· Sun: Closed
Engagement surgeries will also be held on a regular basis across the county providing opportunities for residents to meet their local officers face to face.
These will be based at police stations in the following locations:
· Cromer, alternating with North Walsham – Wednesday: 1pm – 3pm
· Dereham biweekly – Tuesday: 12pm – 2pm
· Diss - Friday 10am – 12pm
· Downham Market – Thursday: 11am -1pm
· Fakenham – Wednesday: 1pm – 3pm
· Hunstanton – Wednesday: 11am – 1pm
· North Walsham, alternating with Cromer - Wednesday 1pm – 3pm
· Thetford every Tuesday 12pm – 2pm
The closure of PEOs affects 26 members of staff who were put at risk when the new model was announced in October. As always, the Constabulary will seek to keep redundancies to a minimum and the remaining roles are ring-fenced for the affected staff.
Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean said: "As part of the 2020 review, we were required to look at the entire policing model including our Public Enquiry Offices.
"Traditionally, our PEOs have provided a key contact point for our communities. However, the vast majority of people now prefer to contact us by telephone or online.
"Our new improved website, which was launched in 2016, has been designed to assist those who are comfortable with self-service and can report issues such as anti-social behaviour and non-urgent crime through online forms.
"It is, however, crucial that we provide opportunities for face-to-face advice for residents who prefer this approach, which is why we will be holding these engagement surgeries.
"I cannot ignore that these changes affect staff roles and I want to take this chance to say how grateful I am for the professionalism, loyalty and dedication shown not only in recent times, but in all the months and years of service.
"All the changes we’re making as part of the new policing model will have an impact on our communities, but our priority is to make sure we continue to deliver a responsive, relevant and viable police service for the people of Norfolk.”
Elizabeth would like to wish all her constituents a very Happy New Year
At the end of January I will have been a GP in Upwell for 30 years. When I arrived here in February 1988 I was appointed as an additional partner to make 4 doctors. At that time the list size was just over 6000 and was starting to grow and Drs Rushmer, Millard and Bevan felt they needed an extra pair of hands to cope with the increase and appointed me. There have been a tremendous number of changes in general practice since then and the job is unrecognisable now compared to that time. When I started patients turned up in the morning, took a number and waited for their turn, we only operated appointments in the afternoon surgery which started at 4-30. In those days we covered the patients 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The job was less intense in the daytime often with periods where you could recharge your batteries in the afternoon. We still did Saturday morning surgeries and didn’t get home until gone 7 most days mind. When I arrived I was impressed to find that this was one of very few practices then which had computers on the GP desks and recorded all the consultations on computer. This practice has always been forward looking and we have strived to ensure we are always up to date and offer the best possible care, we are very conscious that most of you have no other choice of GP practice to attend. We now have 10,500 patients, 7 doctors, a nurse practitioner and a long term condition nurse.
2018 is going to be another year of charge at the practice. The one which will have the biggest impact on the day to day work here will be the new GP computer system we are changing to in February. We have been using a GP system called Emis for many years but in this area more and more of the practices are using a different system called SystmOne. This system is also used by the community nurses and the hospital also has SystmOne terminals on the wards. We recently decided to change to SystmOne as we feel it will offer the patents a more accessible system and will hopefully address some of the issues we have been having with slow running and crashes. The main impact you will notice is the interface you see when you access the practice computers for repeat prescriptions and appointments will change. We also need to make you aware of the increased accessibility other NHS organisations and staff can have to your records, with your consent of course. Giving doctors in hospital access to the GP record is something the NHS has strived for for years as it makes sense that any doctor treating you should have access to as much information about your medical conditions as possible. The government did spend billions on trying to set up an integrated system a few years ago but that failed and was scrapped. The current approach is to allow increased access to the current systems we have and make them more interoperable rather than to create an all singing and dancing system everyone can use.
As you would expect changing our main computer system will entail major work and some significant accommodations for a few weeks. The following bullet points tell you the important things you need to know to help you navigate the change smoothly.
On other matters I am really optimistic the new pharmacy and practice extension I have been trailing for the last few newsletters will come to fruition this year. We are very close to agreeing the final plans and funding arrangements with NHS England. Once we have an agreement and some dates I will do another news letter telling you all about the plans.
2018 promises to be another landmark year for Upwell Health Centre, let us hope it is a successful and prosperous year for us all.
Dr Paul Williams
The consultation for the 2018/2019 Council Tax Support scheme is now open and can be found at www.west-norfolkgov.uk/ctsconsultation
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Chairman - Prue Lester 01945 772234
Deputy Chairman - Richard Melton 01945 771974
David Pope - 01945 773054
Jill Gooch - 01945 773301
Brian Carr - 01945 774145
Chris Crofts - 01945 773519
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Bill Pugh - 01945 773129
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