Festive postboxes thanks to Knit Barley

Festive postbox on high street

Villagers may have spotted a new festive trend emerge in Barley while posting their Christmas cards. The people behind the yarnbombing movement are Knit Barley, the village's knitting group, decorating numerous postboxes with their own unique seasonal design. 

Christmas scenes on Church End postbox
Santa postbox on Shaftenhoe End

It's all part of their attempt to raise money for Helping Herts Homeless, who support the provision of emergency accommodation and other support services to the county's homeless. They say they hope it makes villagers smile and inspires them to help someone else this Christmas. 

Christmas scenes on Church End postbox
Snowy scene postbox on the High Street. 

Christmas scenes on Church End postbox
Christmas mice gather on the Church End postbox. 

You can donate and find out more on the group's Barley yarnbombing Justgiving page. 

Parish Council Clerk vacancy

Barley Parish Council currently has a vacancy for a member of the public to become its Clerk.

All Parish Council meetings are open to the public. They are led by the Council's Chairman and advised by a Clerk who is there to see that business is conducted within the law. Although this may sound pretty daunting in reality like everything else in life once you know how then it’s all fairly straight forward and a very rewarding role.  It is important to understand however that being a Clerk to a Parish Council is a job not a spare time activity ‐ even if it takes only a few hours each week to do.  The job is no different from large to small councils. What is different however is the amount of time needed to deal with the volume of business.  For small parishes like BPC this need be only a few hours each week.

Please download the role description to learn about the role responsibilities, the salary, the working hours and the skills and attributes required.

Those interested in the role can apply by submitting their CV along with a cover letter that summarise their interest and availability to barley.parishclerk@gmail.com.

Why are GP Practices merging?

In April 2016 NHS England published the General Practice Forward View. In the introduction Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England states:     

“There is arguably no more important job in modern Britain than that of the family doctor. GP’s are by far the largest branch of British medicine. A growing and ageing population, with complex multiple health conditions, means that personal and population-orientated primary care is central to any country’s health system. As a recent British Medical Journal headline put it " 'if general practice fails, the whole NHS fails'.”     

Unfortunately the NHS and in particular General Practice is under increasing pressure. There is currently a divergence in that there is an aging / elderly population with increasingly complex health needs requiring more time and continuity in a system with decreasing resources, social care and community support. General Practice is being asked to provide better access with improved opening times whilst having a recruitment and retention crisis.     

Surgeries are collapsing and the unthinkable is happening, surgeries are closing as they are no longer sustainable.      

There are therefore 2 options:     
1. Continue the status quo. Comfort is taken from a system that is understood. However, in doing this we must acknowledge that there is a significant risk that Primary Care will not continue in its current guise.    
2. Innovate and look at system wide change. This is difficult but provides a service that looks after the patient as a whole and is not fragmented and disjointed by the need to use different providers in the community.    

With the mergers of Sawston, Linton, Barley and Shelford, Granta Medical Practices are addressing this struggle with a view to becoming a Primary Care Home. This provides stability as a practice, increased internal skills, and an increased ability to adapt to change. This then becomes more attractive to the multi-disciplinary teams as a place to work, removing the recruitment crisis. It will bring together a range of health and social care professionals to work together to provide enhanced personalised and preventative care for their local community. Focusing on local population needs, the aim is to provide care closer to patient’s homes, before hospital admission may become necessary.     

With an increased size and thus sustainability come different working patterns. This provides increased access but then impacts on perceived continuity. You cannot have one with the other. However, behind the scenes increasing systems are put in place whereby GP’s are constantly communicating with each other about patient concerns, progress, improvement or deterioration and patient care plans and notes are routinely reviewed. There is still a single named GP for every patient who has overarching knowledge and understanding of their patients but they may lead a team that provides ongoing care, rather than run the team.     

It is a fine line between offering unlimited on the day access and regular routine appointments and we must acknowledge that at times the balance can go either way, but it is with an understanding and open mind that we move things forward, learning from what we have achieved in the past to improve and redesign for the better in the future. We are in a time of significant change and all of the staff at Granta are looking to provide outstanding care for their patients. However, we can only do this with the support of our patients. We must adapt to patient’s needs, always be open to suggestions, but maintain our desire to move the practice forward to what we believe it can become.           

On Behalf of Granta Medical Practices    
Dr Tim Wright  
Chief Operations Officer