Housing growth in Leighton Buzzard, Linslade and Houghton Regis - but GP capacity must increase too, says MP

Andrew Selous took the message to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury

By Steve Sims
Monday, 8th November 2021, 1:07 pm

Significant housing growth in Leighton Buzzard, Linslade and Houghton Regis needs to go hand in hand with an increase in GP capacity, South West Beds MP Andrew Selous has said.

And he took that message to a meeting with Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke MP, on Wednesday.

Mr Selous said: "Leighton Buzzard, Linslade and Houghton Regis are all growing fast with thousands of new homes built or going up now and general practice capacity is not increasing alongside that growth.

Andrew Selous met with Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke MP

"I have raised this repeatedly in Parliament recently and have had meetings about it with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and on Wednesday with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury who is in charge of government spending.

“This week's meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury went well and he agreed that the Government needs to have a better system of allocating capital for new general practice premises where there is significant housing growth.

"This needs to be more certain and better planned. I will work with him to deliver that. New buildings need new primary care staff and last year 3,793 new GPs started work and there are now 4,000 GP training spaces this year. We need the practice nurses and pharmacists alongside them.”

In September, the LBO reported how Central Beds Councillors for Linslade were pleading for greater urgency in planning of a Leighton-Linslade health hub.

Supporting a motion at full council by Cllr Victoria Harvey, Councillor Peter Snelling said: "It's a community which is expanding day-by-day as 2,500-odd houses in the eastern development of the town are completed and sold.

"That growth and the significant development over the past 15 years which preceded it has been accompanied by almost no growth in medical provisions in the town.

"In this time, we've seen the closure of a GP facility in Linslade. The original plans for the eastern development included land set aside for a fourth GP practice.

"In its supposed wisdom, the BLMK Clinical Commissioning Group has determined that shouldn't be funded. So what our residents seek isn't without clear justification.

"We want the CCG and this council to engage with us in the town council in a debate about what is required, where it (a health hub) should be located and produce a realistic timetable of when that might be achieved."