North Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MP Dan Rogerson has written to NHS England urging them to approve the expansion of Launceston Medical Centre without further delay.
The centre’s plans to expand to meet demand from people in and around the town are ready to go to the next stage, but things cannot progress until NHS England publish new guidelines covering the expansion of surgeries.
In a letter to Dan Rogerson in early July, NHS England pledged to be able to assess the Centre’s application to expand within a few weeks, but the necessary NHS guidelines have still not been published, despite a delay of more than a year.
Dan Rogerson has written to NHS England to demand urgent action. Surgeries across Cornwall and the rest of the country are facing the same predicament so Dan has also asked Government Health Minister Lord Frederick Howe to look at the situation.
Dan Rogerson said:
“It is clear that Launceston needs NHS approval and quickly. The Medical Centre has plans in place but we are still waiting for NHS England to publish its new guidelines and decide whether or not to give the go ahead and agree to the expanded GP service. The NHS’s delay in publishing its new guidelines is also hitting several other doctors’ surgeries across North Cornwall who have ambitions to expand or secure new premises.”
Launceston Medical Centre is the only GPs surgery in the town and serves an area of approximately a 10 mile radius from the town. The Practice currently has 17,600 registered patients and the list is growing each year – in the last 12 months more than 300 extra patients joined.
Peter Harper, Launceston Medical Centre’s business manager explained:
“From 1st October this year, to meet the demands of our patient list, we will have 11 GP’s working out of 9 GP consulting rooms at the Medical Centre– we are desperate for additional internal space to enable us to provide the service our patients need.
“Virtually every month we have chased the NHS Local Area Team to see if we can submit expansion plans, only to be told each time that the guidelines for new premises have still not been finalised. Without this initial approval it is not worth starting work on detailed plans.”
Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor for Launceston South, Jade Farrington, added: