GPs must listen on opening times

A debate was called in the House of Commons last week to demand a proper assessment of the way Government welfare reforms are hitting disabled people.

The Government is creating a climate of fear among disabled people with the bedroom tax, failure to reform the Work Capability Assessment, chaos at Atos, badly thought through changes to Disability Living Allowance, and the complete failure of the Work Programme to help disabled people into work.

The Government should drop the bedroom tax now because it risks costing more than it saves, the Work Programme needs radical reform and Personal Independence Payment needs new safeguards.

New published analysis shows that 7.5 million patients think their GP surgery opening hours are inconvenient - 17 per cent of all adults registered with a GP in England.

In addition, almost a third of all patients, 13.5 million, say they would like to be able to book their appointments online, up from 26 per cent in 2009/10. Yet only 3 per cent are normally able to do so.

The figures show that 15 percent, or around 37,000 people, in Rotherham find their local GP opening times inconvenient. |

Seventy three percent of these patients want to see their GP surgery’s opening hours extended to include evenings and Saturdays.

Millions of people want to be able to book an appointment with a GP outside of normal working hours.

It is hard to take time off during work while many people also have to commute or pick their children up after school.

The Prime Minister promised he would make it easier for patients to see a GP but the number of patients who say their surgery opening hours are inconvenient is rising and fewer surgeries are now offering evening and weekend appointments.

GP surgeries in Rotherham should listen closely to what their patients are saying and offer more flexible opening hours, especially for working people.

Sport England invests Lottery and Grant-in-Aid funding to increase the number of people playing sport regularly, keep them playing, improve sporting facilities and develop sporting talent.

For any clubs or organisations looking to replace leaky roofs, install new boilers, improve their coaching or equipment or protect their playing field, there are a number of funding streams that are currently open.

Grants of up to £50,000 to help modernise and improve clubs’ facilities are available through the Inspired Facilities programme.

The Protecting Playing Fields programme protects and improves playing fields, with all playing fields in the scheme protected from development for at least 25 years.

The Community Sport Activation Fund is available to local authorities and local community groups to support grassroots activity, while the Improvement Fund awards grants of £150,000 to £500,000 into sustainable projects with a clear local need.

Small grants between £300 and £10,000 are available for coaching and equipment; the Small Grants fund has invested £7.8 million of Lottery money into 1,100 smaller grassroots sports projects.

Over the last few years many clubs and organisations in the Rother Valley have secured investment from Sport England. Small grants have been awarded to Wales Parish Council, Maltby Town Council, Aston Hall Cricket Club, Rotherham Sailing Club, Kiveton Park and Wales Community Development Trust, Maltby Miners Welfare Cricket Club juniors and Ulley Sailing Club. Kiveton Park Miners Welfare Scheme and Aston Hall Cricket Club have also had significant funding through the Inspired Facilities Programme.

For more on Sport England’s funding visit www.sportengland.org/funding or call 08458 508 508.