05 APR 2018

Allington Surgeries

Kent Messenger Column – 05-04-18

GPs are a cornerstone of our NHS and I was therefore very concerned to learn of the threat of closure facing two neighbouring GP surgeries in Allington, as reported in this paper last week. Firstly, I must stress that no decision has yet been taken and I can assure residents that I will be doing everything within my power to ensure that adequate GP services remain available in the Allington locality.

Last week, I wrote to Glenn Douglas, accountable officer at West Kent CCG, to express my serious concern about the potential closure and to ask him to consider every possible option to ensure that the surgeries remain open. I would encourage others to do the same before the consultation closes on 13th April; email: wkccg.primarycare@nhs.net

Whilst this decision is not directly linked to funding, I am acutely aware of the funding pressures that our NHS faces and the concern this generates. When I have met with senior health professionals recently they have been clear that a combination of greater efficiency and increased funding is essential to securing the future of our health service.

I was therefore pleased to hear the Prime Minister commit last week to introducing a long-term funding plan for the NHS. Whilst the Government is already prioritising health spending with an investment of an extra £8 billion per year; a further shift towards sustainable, long term investment would be very welcome. On the sustainability point, I am also delighted that Government has approved the new medical school for Canterbury, helping supply the human resources we will need for our NHS in Kent, especially as Brexit approaches.

On a more fundamental level, we need a national conversation about how we best fund our NHS so that it continues to be world leading, tax funded and free at the point of use. I look forward to that debate in the coming months.

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