When the KRA started to look at the ambulance service we concentrated on the proposed closure of the Knaphill ambulance station with staff and vehicles being transferred to Ottershaw. However the bigger picture is more worrying.
Our ambulance service is provided by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) and this is an NHS foundation trust. SECAmb covers Kent, Surrey, Sussex and NE Hampshire, the first question is this too big to be efficient? On the 29September the Core Quality Commission published their inspection report and overall the quality of service provided by SECAmb was rated as inadequate for the second consecutive inspection and the service was put into special measures. When the CQC put an organisation into special measures it means that they have no confidence in the current management team bringing about sufficient change to improve the situation. I have now read the 29 page executive summary and it does not make pleasant reading.
One of the areas where the CQC is highly critical is the ambulance service’s response to serious 999 calls.
The first test is the speed the ambulance service answers 999 calls and according to the CQC SECAmb is benchmarked as the worst performing trust nationally for answering 999 calls within 5 seconds.
Turning to the time taken for an ambulance to reach the patient. Serious 999 calls are slit into Red1 and Red2. Red1 calls are those of life threatening nature and Red2 calls less urgent but including strokes and fits. For Red1 calls the target is for the response to be within 8 minutes and this should be achieved on at least 75% occasions to meet the national target. SECAmb only achieved 71%. For Red2 the national target for responding within 9 minutes is 75%, SECAmb only achieved 67.3%. The CQC state that the performance was significantly varied between different control centres within the trust. For one control centre the performance fell as low as 33% for Red1 calls and 55.8% for Red2 calls. The CQC do not name any ambulance station so we do not know how Knaphill or Ottershaw perform when compared to the national targets.
Returning to where we started, the future of the Knaphill ambulance station. The KRA has sent both Jonathan Lord MP and County Cllr. Saj Hussain a number of questions that we feel residents need answers to to measure the quality of service they received from the Surrey based ambulance stations and what the impact of the closure will have on response times.
There were good points in the CQC report. The CQC rated the service good for caring and the attitude from staff to their patients.
Green-fingered gardeners and growers from across the Borough were celebrating the fruits of their labour recently at the annual Woking in Bloom and Allotment Awards, held at H.G Wells Conference and Events Centre, with Knaphill once again figuring among the top prizewinners.
The cream of the gardening crop received their prizes at a special presentation evening, attended by the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Anne Murray. Prizes for the winners and runners-up included garden centre gift tokens and trophies.
Woking Borough Council would like to thank sponsors Squires Garden Centre, Serco and Lansbury Business Estate for their continued support of the Woking in Bloom competition.
Woking in Bloom results
Best large front garden – sponsored by Woking Borough Council
1st – Barry and Pam Gray, Knaphill
Best tub or container – sponsored by Serco
1st – Mr and Mrs Stevens, Knaphill
Best floral public house
2nd – The Royal Oak, Knaphill
3rd – The Anchor, Knaphill
Tunis Cup for best allotment site in Woking Borough
1st – Knaphill Allotment Association
Ashley Slocock Cup for best cultivated plot by a lady
1st – Mrs Linda Jaquenoud, Knaphill Allotments
3rd – Mrs Marie Williams, Knaphill Allotments
Benstead Scroll for best cultivated plot by someone over 70 years old
2nd – Mr Francis Maher, Knaphill Allotments
3rd – Mr Chris Kersley, Knaphill Allotments
Leam Challenge Shield for best newly cultivated plot
1st – Mrs Sarah de Mul, Horsell Allotment Society
2nd – Mrs Jo Haward, Knaphill Allotments
As stated earlier as things stand the ambulance station based in Knaphill is to close and the staff plus vehicles transferred to Ottershaw.
The body that made this decision, South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, has been placed in special measures . The reason for this is that they have been rated inadequate by England’s chief inspector of hospitals.
Amongst the reasons given by the Inspector for the decision included bullying, delayed response times and putting patients at risk. The KRA have also been told that there is a shortage of staff.
Given grave state of affairs it is down to politicians at all levels, we have briefed our MP, to halt this move to close our ambulance station because once it closes it will not reopen.
South East Coast Ambulance Service is to close the ambulance station situated on Bagshot Road (A322) Knaphill. We understand that the closure could take place before the end of October.
The KRA were receiving reports from residents about the intended closure of the ambulance station and when we questioned Cllr. Hussain he stated that no one had consulted or informed the local Councillors of a possible closure.
Yesterday, 25 September I came across an article on the website of the Ambulance service. The article is headed ‘Chertsey Make Ready Centre to incorporate more ambulance crews.’ It was only on reading the full article that what this meant was that the crews and vehicles based at Knaphill were being transferred to Chertsey. The article was published on the 20 September.
The ambulance service tries to argue that one of the reasons for closing the Knaphill station is because, and I quote, ‘it is not in the right location for current patient demand.’ What it should have said is that a developer is interested in buying the land and the ambulance service needs the money.
Knaphill ambulance service covers Woking west of the town centre including Goldsworth Park, St. Johns, Knaphill and Brookwood plus parts of Surrey Heath including Bisley.
The South East Coast Ambulance Service is already failing to meet national targets on response times to 999 calls, how is increasing the journey time to our corner of Surrey going to help. We keep being told that in the case of a full emergency time counts and that is why the target is a response time of within 8 minutes to 999 call. How will an ambulance navigate the traffic at peak times from Chertsey or Ottershaw to Knaphill and be within the target time.
Another key question, who has made this decision. The ambulance service is an NHS foundation trust and as such has local politicians on its Board, who represents this part of Surrey on the Board? Were they not paying attention or sleeping on the job?
The KRA has written to both our MP, Jonathan Lord and our County Councillors, Saj Hussain asking for the closure of the Knaphill Ambulance Station to be put on hold until there has been a full, independent review of the decision including an examination, b traffic experts, of the travel times from Ottershaw to the area covered by Knaphill.
We await a response from both our MP and County Councillor.
The new footpath that goes from Brookwood Farm pavilion to the canal towpath has been reported to Woking Council following several complaints about the surface of the footpath. The current footpath surface is unsuitable both for cyclists and adults pushing baby buggies. WBC have agreed to investigate but added that as the path goes across what will be a country park they will have to consult Natural England who approve all footpath surfaces in Country Parks.
The ground floor of the new car park at Brookwood station is now open. When we visited the ticket machines were not working and therefore you had to purchase your parking ticket in the station. The new cycle pod has also been opened.
Please note that the slip roads off Connaught Road have been switched. This means that you use the slip road nearest to Knaphill to get to the station.
We can now confirm that Premier Pubs Estate have formally requested a review of the decision to register the Anchor public house as an asset of community value. The review will normally take place within 8 weeks of the Council having received a written request for a review. What we do not know is if Premier Pubs have sought an oral hearing.
Work has started on the old library site and we assume the first job is to complete the demolition of the old building. Access to the site is from Englefield Road. Those who have been following this story will know that New Vision Homes were granted planning permission in February 2015 to build a 3 storey block containing 9 residential units. Later New Vision Homes/Woking Borough council acquired land at the rear of the old library that fronts out on Englefield Road. Although this land has been acquired neither WBC nor New Vision Homes has stated what they plan for this land.
As workmen start to demolish the old library one must assume that New Vision Homes plan to go ahead with the single building that has been approved. Having suggested that the builder sticks to the original plans they showed a single entrance to the new flats being off the High Street but surely having acquired land at the rear it would make more sense to make the entrance off Englefiled Road! This change would require an amendment to the agreed plans and as yet no such amendment has been published.
If the demolition is completed by the end of October then the annual Armistice Day service may be held on the land in front of the old library.
As of 5th September, Knaphill library will be open during the following hours :
Monday 1 – 5 Thursday 10 – 1, 2 – 5
Tuesday 10 – 1, 2 – 5 Friday 10 – 1, 2 – 5
Wednesday Closed Saturday 9.30 – 4
After chasing an update for several months, we have just been informed that the situation regarding Knaphill is the following, which is a direct quote from a communication from Inspector Nolan Heather, from the Woking Area Policing Team of Surrey Police:
“In April we underwent a change in how we deliver our front line service. This resulted in a new model called Policing in your Neighbourhood (PIYN). This is good news for each borough as it means that each area now has its own uniformed team who are locally led. The old Safer Neighbourhood Team has also changed as well. It has become smaller and is focusing on tackling repeat issues on the borough.
For Knaphill, PCSO Sultan Khan is still the point of contact for the area. He is managed by PS Emmie Harris and both of them form part of the wider team that looks after Woking.
In regards of the names and numbers to contact, for an emergency it will be 999 as this will provide the quickest response. If the incident is not an emergency then the 101 number is the next best number to call. This will ensure that your call is logged and details can be passed onto the team. This reduces the risk of the matter being missed should the officer be away on leave for example. Residents can also contact the local team on firstname.lastname@example.org (I must stress that this is not to be used to report crime).
We also have our own Facebook (Wokingbeat) and Twitter page (@wokingbeat). These both provide an opportunity for local residents to see what the team are currently involved with.”
The KRA are looking at the possibility of organising a public meeting with Inspector Heather so that he can explain in more detail the implications of the above and residents can ask questions and express any concerns or problems they might have. Details will be made available once this is firmed up.