View From the House by MP for Milton Keynes North Mark Lancaster.
Following the sudden closure of Willen Surgery in 2013, local councillors, residents and I fought tirelessly to bring its return.
The pleas to the Health Minister, NHS England and the Homes and Community Agency proved effective in March this year when the news came that the surgery was accepted in principle to reopen.
It was, nonetheless, after months of negotiations that the announcement came last month this was to be a reality, with the arrival of the first patients to be in January.
Crucially, the new surgery will be under the umbrella of the Newport Pagnell Medical Centre. The resultant larger practice will not only act as part of an MK-wide plan to provide an overall 34,000 extra GP appointments in recognition of our ever-growing population, but it will also make the surgery more resilient financially.
Across the city, GP services have received £1.8 million funding to alleviate pressure and support their development.
There is a lesson to be learned. The closure of the surgery should be a reminder that this must not happen again. Instead, we must keep on top of our rising population by adhering to the ‘I before E’ principle of planning, whereby Infrastructure always comes before Expansion.
It has always been my priority to ensure that the right infrastructure of the necessary size, whether it be schools or in this case medical services, is built before or at least concurrently with new homes.
I am delighted at the positive outcome for residents of Willen.