Monthly column: We need a fair deal for our health services

Ed Davey (left) and Mayor Dave at Kempston Surgery (image: Bedford Liberal Democrats)

In January the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMK ICB) admitted that area has missed out on eight trainee GPs because there is not sufficient space within its GP estate.

In addition some of the proposed expansions to GP provisions in Wootton, Wixams, Shortstown, Harrold and Queen’s Park will now not be funded because of government infrastructure policy that is failing Bedford Borough residents.

It has now been revealed that BLMK ICB has 27 fewer GPs than it did in December 2016. The number of patients per GP has grown from 2,304 in December 2016 to 2,720 in December last year.

These figures confirm what we already knew: Bedford Borough needs more GPs and we need more GP surgery space so that these GPs can work. Our hardworking GPs and health care staff are under immense pressure to provide quality care and they need more help. The government can’t ignore this issue anymore.

I am calling for a fair deal for Bedford Borough from the government.

Our residents deserve a fair deal when it comes to access to primary care.

The government must prioritise making sure GPs have enough space to meet local residents’ health needs. New GP surgeries should be legally prioritised and approved with the NHS, before house building commences on new estates.

As we have all seen and experienced, there is a big need for GPs across the Borough. There has been growth in population and, at best, a stagnation of our health service facilities.

Local GPs have told me that we are losing good doctors because they haven’t got the space to provide services to relieve pressure on the overall health system.

The facts are that we need more GPs, and here was an opportunity to get more, but they’ve not got anywhere for them to work – that cannot be right.

In a 2019 joint Bedford Borough Council and NHS study it was found that the Borough was 40% underprovided for in terms of GP space.

Since then there have been a number of schemes for new facilities planned to be finished, many are yet to see any progress at all.

You can sign my petition calling for a fair deal for Bedford Borough with an increase in the number of GPs in our area to provide improved access for those in need at


This is a monthly guest column provided by elected
Mayor Dave Hodgson (Liberal Democrats). It is published
unedited and
does not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent.

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