Cross-party task force meets to end 15-year wait for GP surgery in Wixams

Attendees at the meeting including: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. Image: Alistair Strathern MP

The recently elected MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Alistair Strathern (Labour), has brought together a group of key decision-makers and residents to finally deliver a GP surgery in Wixams. 

It is the first time key stakeholders have been in the same room with the joint aim of breaking the deadlock that has existed since the Wixams estate opened in 2009.

The meeting was held in early February and attended by 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.

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

15-year waiting time…

The Wixams estate opened in 2009 with 3,000 new homes, but no GP practice to accommodate them.

The local NHS board had said it could not commit to new healthcare premises even by 2025 – meaning residents could be waiting more than 15 years for a GP practice.

Read: Petition presented after health bosses refuse to commit to GP surgery in Wixams

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’m confident working together we can finally get this done.”

Representatives from the Wixams GP Action Group said it was encouraging to see all the key stakeholders wanting to work together 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.”

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