Rob Butler, MP for Aylesbury, has called on the Government to ensure that new doctors’ surgeries are included in all large-scale housing developments during a Parliamentary debate. Reflecting the concerns of many local residents who are already struggling to get appointments with their GPs, Rob highlighted that the town has expanded rapidly over the past 50 years. He said:
“Since 2000 alone, more than 16,000 homes have been added to the town. The newly approved Local Plan will add that same number again. The people who come to live in those new houses need excellent local services. They need road and rail connections, like the Aylesbury link roads and the Aylesbury Spur. They need schools that have enough spaces for all the children living locally. And crucially, they need sufficient health care provision, particularly at the primary level. Yet already, GP surgeries in my constituency are at bursting point.
“It is just plain common sense that new housing developments need to include healthcare provision. We must ensure that buildings for these facilities are core to the design and planning of large-scale new housing developments. And we must also remember that we don’t just need the premises, we need the people. So we need to ensure we have enough young people training to join the health service across the full range of professions, with courses such as those as Bucks New University, Bucks College and Bucks UTC all providing a first step. We must consider retention as well as recruitment, so that the people living in those housing developments will still have excellent healthcare provision in 10, 20 and 30 years’ time. And we mustn’t forget that primary healthcare can result in referral to secondary healthcare – GPs send some of their patients to hospital. That must not be neglected when we consider housing development on a scale such as we are seeing in Aylesbury.”
In response to the debate, the Housing Minister, Stuart Andrew MP, said: "I get it...I've listened to the points made and hear them loud and clear". He said the Government is working on a new planning system which will be more streamlined and simpler, where improved services are synonymous with development.
Speaking after the debate, Rob said:
“I was delighted to be able to set out the strongly-held concerns of Aylesbury residents for the future of GP provision in the town. For too long, we have seen developments springing up without the necessary infrastructure to accommodate them. I was pleased to highlight in Parliament my firm belief that development must benefit everyone – both new and existing residents who make Aylesbury, the proud county town of Buckinghamshire, such a great place to live and work.”