This week I attended the Audit and Governance meeting in the council chamber, to take part in the discussion surrounding the proposed closure of Hartfields Medical Centre, which is part of the McKenzie Group Trust.
I have received a number of emails from constituents over the past few weeks regarding the proposed closure, and I know people across Hartlepool share my concern at the thought of losing one of our local GP practices.
I made my position on the proposed closure clear at the meeting after hearing from both representatives from the McKenzie Group, and the Director of Commissioning for the CCG – I cannot, and will not support the closure of Hartfields Medical Practice.
Engagement with patients as well as residents of Hartfields to date has revealed that the practice provides care for a significant number of vulnerable individuals, who would struggle to attend or travel to a different GP surgery.
I do not want my constituents to feel forgotten or frightened as a consequence of the potential closure.
With a growing population and plans to build a 570-house development and a 94-bed care home in the Hartfields area, it is vital that this GP practice permanently reopens.
Sticking with the theme of healthcare and its delivery, I was pleased to meet virtually this week with representatives from the Royal College of Nursing.
Our discussion centred on addressing the backlog within the NHS caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and how the Government can help support nurses as well as other healthcare professionals in doing so.
I know how important the delivery of healthcare services is to people across Hartlepool – constituents have written to me with a wide spectrum of issues relating to the delivery of healthcare locally, with one of the main concerns being access to face-to face appointments with GPs.
I have, this week, written to the Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid to gain more insight into the effects of covid on the delivery of healthcare, and what can be done to ensure there is increased availability of in-person consultations with healthcare professionals.
I will be sure to update my constituents on this matter in due course.