North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson has said that NHS England and Conservative Health Ministers are passing the buck on the issue of approving crucial guidelines to allow GP practices to expand.
GP practices cannot expand until new NHS ‘Principles of Best Practice’ guidelines are approved.
Launceston Medical Centre is one such surgery. The centre has plans to expand the number of treatment rooms, to improve access and to increase parking provision - but the centre will not be able to go ahead and submit their plans for approval until the NHS publishes its expansion guidelines.
Launceston Medical Centre is the town’s only GPs surgery and serves an area of approximately a 10 mile radius from the centre of Launceston. 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 have joined.
Delays in the guidelines would also hold-up aspirations for a new medical centre in Camelford.
NHS England has been promising to publish the guidelines for a number of months. Despite many reassurances that the guidelines would available ‘soon’, they have still not materialised.
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson has been pressing NHS England and the Conservative Health Minister Lord Howe to act. Following a public meeting with NHS England representatives in December, local residents, Dan Rogerson and Launceston councillors were told that the guidelines were awaiting the approval of Lord Howe.
But in a letter this week to Dan Rogerson, Lord Howe said that whilst the delays were “frustrating”, approving the guidelines for expanding GPs surgeries was not his responsibility.
Dan Rogerson MP commented:
“We have been told by NHS England that the delays are due to ministers at the Department for Health, but this week we have heard from the Health Minister that the problems lie with NHS England.
“Over the past few months we have been urging NHS England to approve these crucial guidelines, so that Launceston Medical Centre can submit their plans to expand the surgery to help meet the growing demand from people in and around the town.
“Local people will rightly expect Health ministers and NHS England stop blaming each and start working together in the interests of patients in Launceston and across North Cornwall. I have once again asked the Health Minister Lord Howe to intervene and meet with me and senior executives from NHS England so that we can all sit down and sort this situation out once and for all.”