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Alistair Strathern MP kick starts task force for GP Surgery in Wixams

Updated: Feb 26

PRESS RELEASE FROM ALISTAIR STRATHERN MP

FRIDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Today Mid Bedfordshire MP Alistair Strathern brought together a group of key decision makers and residents for the first time, to break through the deadlock and kick start momentum to finally deliver a GP surgery in Wixams. 

 

The first meeting, which was held today, was attended by key decision makers and representatives of local residents. This included the Chief Executives of both Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council, the Chief Executive of the NHS Integrated Care Board and the Wixams Surgery Action Group.

 

The meeting covered the planning and funding challenges that have delayed the surgery to date, and agreed a plan of action to work together to ensure a surgery for Wixams can finally be brought forward.

 

The Wixams estate opened in 2009 with 3,000 new homes, but no GP practice to accommodate them. Elderly residents have reported travelling several hours by public transport to the closest surgery in Ampthill. The local NHS board had said it could not commit to a new healthcare premises even by 2025 - meaning residents could be waiting more than 15 years for a GP practice.

 

Alistair Strathern MP said:

 

"When I stood for election in October, I said my first priority would be securing better access to GPs locally, and residents in Wixams have been waiting far too long for promised provision to materialise.”

 

“I’ve secured new health provision before by getting decision makers round the table to break through deadlocks, and after years of delay it’s clear that’s what we need here.”

 

“This meeting was the first time all key stakeholders have sat round the same table, and its already helped drive progress in identifying key next steps and ensuring everyone has a common understanding of where things stand.”

 

“I welcome the positive can-do attitude the NHS, CBC, Beds Borough and local councillors and residents all brought to today’s meeting, and off the back of welcome news from both councils about their commitment to funding Primary care, I’m confident working together we can finally get this done.”

 

Saqhib Ali, the Chair of Wixams Parish Council, said:

 

"As Chair of Wixams Parish Council, it was great to see all relevant parties present. Thank you to Alistair for facilitating.

 

"Cllr Coombes and I have been working on this since 2011. Having set up the petition that secured over 2,000 signatures from local residents and helped to set up the GP Action Group, it was very useful to attend and hear from all."

 

Representatives from the Wixams GP Action Group said:

 

"It was really encouraging to see all the key stakeholders around the table wanting to work to find a solution for Wixams. There's still a long way to go unfortunately but we hope to keep working with Alistair to keep the pressure on."

 

Alistair has a record of delivering new healthcare centres, having successfully campaigned for a new health centre as a councillor.

 

Editors' Notes:

 

Attendees at the meeting today included:

 

Alistair Strathern - Labour MP for Mid Bedfordshire

Laura Church - Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council

Felicity Cox – Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board Chief Executive

Saqhib Ali – Chair of Wixams Parish Council

Representatives of Wixams Surgery Action Group

Rebecca Hares – Executive member for Health, Central Bedfordshire Council

Marcel Coiffait – Chief Executive, Central Bedfordshire Council

Cllr Martin Towler - Bedford Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Health

Graeme Coombes - Bedford Borough Council Wixams Councillor

 

More information on the Wixams GP Surgery can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-67681296

More about Labour's NHS Mission here: https://labour.org.uk/missions/nhs/

 

ENDS


 

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