MP kick starts task force to get GP surgery into Wixams

“I’m confident working together we can finally get this done”
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Mid Bedfordshire MP Alistair Strathern has brought together a group of key decision makers and residents to help break through the deadlock and place a GP surgery in Wixams.

The first meeting, which was held today (Friday), was attended by residents, the chief executives of both Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), the chief executive of the NHS Integrated Care Board and the Wixams Surgery Action Group.

It covered the planning and funding issues which have delayed the surgery and agreed a plan of action to ensure it happens.

Mid Bedfordshire MP Alistair Strathern said: "I’m confident working together we can finally get this done"Mid Bedfordshire MP Alistair Strathern said: "I’m confident working together we can finally get this done"
Mid Bedfordshire MP Alistair Strathern said: "I’m confident working together we can finally get this done"

The Wixams estate opened in 2009 with 3,000 new homes with no GP practice to accommodate them. Elderly residents have reported travelling several hours by public transport to the closest surgery in Ampthill. The NHS board had said it could not commit to a new healthcare premises even by 2025 – meaning residents could be waiting more than 15 years for a GP practice.

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 it’s already helped drive progress in identifying key next steps and ensuring everyone has a common understanding of where things stand.”

“I welcome the positive can-do attitude the NHS, CBC, Bedford borough and local councillors and residents all brought to today’s meeting, and off the back of welcome news from both councils about their commitment to funding primary care, I’m confident working together we can finally get this done.”

Saqhib Ali said: "As chair of Wixams Parish Council, it was great to see all relevant parties present. Thank you to Alistair for facilitating. Cllr Coombes and I have been working on this since 2011. Having set up the petition that secured over 2,000 signatures from local residents and helped to set up the GP Action Group, it was very useful to attend and hear from all."

Representatives from the Wixams GP Action Group said: "It was really encouraging to see all the key stakeholders around the table wanting to work 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."