PEOPLE power has led to the green light being given to a health centre in Upper Lighthorne.
Twenty-two parish councils united in support of the delivery of the new health facility after its future became precarious.
The health centre was originally part of plans for the Gaydon Heath development back in 2016, which included 650 new homes.
The new GP service was to serve these new residents as well as the increasing number of people living in the surrounding parishes.
But the future of the health centre became uncertain last year when the Integrated Care Board (ICB) decided to explore the option that other local GP surgeries could share the burden of the extra patients between them instead.
Now, after nine months of hard work by the united parish councils proving a new health centre was desperately needed, IBM confirmed at a meeting on January 20, that the health centre would go ahead.
Coun Andy Smith, Chairman of Lighthorne Parish Council, said: “We quickly realised we faced a potential U-turn on the proposed new health facility, and realised the subsequent consequences to other parishes served by the nearest GP practices, who are all operating at or near capacity.
“Consequently we set about contacting as many affected parishes as possible, and as of today we have accumulated 22 parishes speaking with one voice,”
The programme of activity over the last nine months included the development of a clear joint statement of objectives for primary healthcare, including that no resident of Upper Lighthorne should need to travel outside the parish for a GP appointment, and that no surrounding parish should suffer a degradation of their GP services as a consequence of the growing population of Upper Lighthorne.
Meetings with ICB representatives were held to lobby for the right decisions, enlisting the support of Sir Jeremy Wright MP, along with district and county councillors. The parish councils also met with existing GP practices to understand the pressures they were facing, and their disposition to staffing a new facility at Upper Lighthorne.
However, Coun Smith added that while the parish councils’ primary objective had been met, this was no time for complacency.
He continued: “It’s really important that we can also address the pressures of new patient registrations on existing GP practices, and Upper Lighthorne residents having to register with a GP miles from where they live.
“We also have to monitor progress and intervene where we see a lack of it. In short, we have to follow through and
deliver for our communities.”