The Burnley Practice

In recent years I have been in regular contact with aggrieved Willesden and Dudden Hill patients registered with the Burnley GP Practice. This surgery was originally in Burnley Road but it closed in 2001 when the doctor left without warning.  Patients were transferred to the Roundwood Practice at the Pound Lane Clinic with the promise of a return to a surgery in the Burnley Road area. Eventually the practice was relocated to Willesden Centre for Health and Care, but the inferred intention has always been to find appropriate premises suitable for local residents. 

Recently there have been indications that there were plans to close this surgery and to distribute patients to other practices – few of which are within easy access for older or mobility impaired residents. There is genuine concern that one of the options being considered is to disperse the lists and a petition with over 150 names has been submitted.

Having settled into the surgery at the Willesden Centre, with patients familiar with its facilities, they find their GP practice is at risk yet again, in spite of assurances over the years to resolve concerns. Many residents will not understand why the practice is threatened with closure or what alternative arrangements are possible, but it is recognized that a “post code” lottery does exist in Brent, with the Willesden area (NW2, NW10) having fewer GP’s per 100,000 population than other areas of the borough.

As this is a community rather than a party political issue, I have sought the support of co-councillors for Willesden Green and Dudden Hill Wards, all of whom put their names to a letter of objection to the PCT Director.  We also supported a meeting with PCT staff and about 40 patients. This was a good meeting where patients could express their concerns and could feel they were listened to. As a result, a further look at options for the Burnley Practice and further meetings are expected.

Trading Standards Success

The Local Government Association has highlighted how criminal assets are recovered by local authorities under the "Home Office Incentivisation Scheme".  This lets councils to recover up to 37.5% of money confiscated, using powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to conduct financial investigations and to undertake enforcement work against benefit fraudsters, counterfeiters, etc. The Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service is given as an example which uncovered a fake handbags scam, leading to fines of £400,000, of which £132,000 went to the boroughs.

Latest on the Learie Constantine Open Space

There is new fencing in place but other work on the refurbishment of the Learie Constantine Open Space in Villiers Road has been sporadic.  There has been plenty of digging and the layout plan is emerging but there appears to be a long way to go before it is finished.  The delay may be due to having to wait to see if the Lib Con government would continue to fund playgrounds with the "Playbuilder" scheme. Recently heard this scheme was abandoned, but where work on a play space was advanced, it could be finished.  So it looks as though this play area will survive the cuts.  I am asking officers for the potential finish date and will include an update later.