PRESS RELEASE 16th April 2018
• LABOUR RAISE CONCERNS OVER PLANS TO CLOSE SIX GP SURGERIES IN DARTFORD
• PAITENTS WILL BE ASKED TO TRAVEL FURTHER TO SEE THEIR DOCTOR AT PROPOSED NEW ‘HEALTH HUB’
• DARTFORD LABOUR COUNCILLORS QUESTION ‘MISLEADING’ MESSAGES FROM CON-SERVATIVE RUN COUNCIL
Dartford Labour Councillors have raised concerns over plans to close six GP surgeries in Dartford and merge them into a proposed new town centre ‘Health Hub’. The new ‘Health Hub’ forms part of the Council’s plans to redevelop the old Co-op site and was promoted to Dartford residents as a “new health facility” (1). However, it was revealed this week that no new GP surgeries will form part of the plan – which will instead see six existing surgeries close and ‘relocate’ to a single location in the Town Centre.
A report to Dartford Borough Council Cabinet last week confirmed that six local GP Practices would relocate to the new facility, including those currently based at the Dartford West Health Centre and some town centre practices. The proposal would lead to some residents having to travel further to access primary care due to the closure of existing GP surgeries. (2)
Questions remain about costs of the new health hub and how it will be funded after an initial fund-ing bid was rejected by NHS England. Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commission Group (CCG) are currently in financial special measures with a £13million deficit.
Dartford Labour Leader Jonathon Hawkes said;
“With thousands of new homes being built in Dartford we desperately new additional GP surgeries to meet demand, so it’s disappointing to learn that this proposal – promoted by the Conservative Coun-cil – isn’t going to deliver that. The ‘Health Hub’ will simply relocate existing practices.
The Conservatives are supporting this plan, but there are questions that need answering. Why does the Council believe it’s right that patients – many of which will be elderly – should now have to travel further to see their GP? How will the new hub be funded? Our CCG has been underfunded by the Government and we’ve already seen one funding application turned down. It’s far from certain this proposal will go ahead if finances cannot be secured.
I believe the literature released by the Conservatives about this has been misleading. Telling residents they will be getting a new health facility while not mentioning it will be only relocate existing practic-es is not being straight with people. The Council should be focused on delivering the extra capacity we need, not trying to spin an announcement into something it’s not.
Dartford needs additional health facilities to meet the demands of our growing town. Instead we are seeing a Conservative government cutting funding to the NHS and a Conservative Council supporting a plan to close local GP practices. Jeremy Kite and the Conservatives need to stop the PR spin and start explaining when Dartford will get the new GP surgeries we desperately need.”
Notes 1. Page 16 of the Council’s “Discover Dartford” brochure http://www.discoverdartford.co.uk/brochure/#16/z
2. Dartford Borough Council Cabinet Report 12 April – Agenda Item 11, Section 3.5 http://committeedmz.dartford.gov.uk/documents/g2620/Public%20reports%20pack%20Thursday%2012-Apr-2018%2019.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10