Milton Keynes ‘misses out again’ on government funding to tackle GP crisis

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Surgeries in Olney, Westcroft, Great Holm, Bletchley, Fishermead and Fenny Stratford lost bids for cash

Milton Keynes has lost out on government funding to tackle the GP crisis after Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton was allocated just £1.9m to improve primary care facilities across the region.

Several areas of Milton Keynes with ageing GP facilities or capacity issues put in bids for cash, including bids to extend GP surgeries in Olney, Westcroft and Great Holm, upgrade premises in Bletchley and provide extra space in Fishermead and at the Red House Surgery in Fenny Stratford.

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The announcement comes just weeks after the Cobbs Garden GP Practice in Olney had to close its GP list to new applications due to meet demand. Milton Keynes City Council has set aside £700,000 and provided land for the surgery to expand but the government have not provided funding to meet the request to improve or move the facility.

There is just one GP for around 2,462 people in Milton Keynes, figures revealThere is just one GP for around 2,462 people in Milton Keynes, figures reveal
There is just one GP for around 2,462 people in Milton Keynes, figures reveal

A council spokesman said: “Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, while Central Bedfordshire is growing at a similar rate. Yet despite between the two authorities delivering 4% of the nation's new housing this year, the government allocated just £1.9m to the whole of the BLMK area, which also includes Luton and Bedford.”

Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK City Council, said: “Residents tell me one of their main problems is access to GP and primary care appointments, which is why we need facilities with more space and to improve ageing or inappropriate buildings. It’s disappointing that yet again MK has lost out on much needed government funding for vital improvements to the city.

"The Conservatives only allocated less than £2m to the whole of the BLMK area despite it being one of the fastest growing parts of the country. It so no wonder when people can’t get to see their GP that they end up in hospital putting more pressure on our doctors and nurses.”

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Chris Curtis, Labour Spokesperson for MK North, said: “I am very annoyed that Cobbs Garden Practice in Olney hasn’t received any funding to help get their GP list back open. This is despite Labour ensuring the council could provide £700,000 and land for the facilities.

“Only a few weeks ago MP Ben Everitt was saying this was this is an issue, despite the problem being caused by his government giving planning permission to extra growth the council had refused.

"The surgery can’t find an extra GP due to doctor shortages and now his government hasn’t given the surgery money to expand like they need to.”

Cllr Emily Darlington, MKCC Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities, concluded: “Our Labour council has delivered new Health Hubs in Brooklands and Whitehouse. We have used council funding to provide state-of-the-art facilities such as a cancer centre, radiology unit and A&E overflow facilities at MK Hospital, and we are funding and have just submitted a planning application for a new Health Hub on the new MK East development.

“Contrast that with the feeble investment from the government in MK. No money for Bletchley, Fishermead or Red House. No money for Great Holm or Westcroft.”