In the House of Commons, Duncan presented a petition, signed by several hundred local residents, calling for an Urgent Care Centre at Chippenham Hospital.
Chippenham’s GPs drew up the plans in order to bring urgent care services together in one place – accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and help relieve the pressure on nearby Accident and Emergency departments at the Royal United Hospital, Bath and the Great Western Hospital, Swindon.
The town’s three GP practices submitted a joint bid for funding for the project to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund last year, but this was turned down when Conservative Ministers failed to support it.
In the House of Commons in January, Duncan secured a promise from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look again at the proposals from Chippenham’s GPs.
Last month, Duncan brought Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, to meet local GP Dr Nick Brown and discuss the plan at Chippenham Hospital. Dr Brown and Duncan enlisted the Minister’s support in making the case for an Urgent Care Centre.
Following the Minister’s visit, Duncan started the petition calling on the House of Commons to urge the Government to fund an Urgent Care Centre, and it has been signed by several hundred local people.
“I often hear about people going to A&E not knowing how else they could get to see a doctor when they want one. Over the winter, this was among the pressures that pushed our NHS to breaking point.
“This plan by Chippenham’s GPs has my full support and that of many local people in Chippenham. Our petition should mean it is high in the in-tray of whoever is the Health Secretary after the election.
“I hope to be in a position to continue to press the case for improvements to our local health services in the next Parliament.”
The petition reads:
“To the House of Commons.
The Petition of residents of the Chippenham constituency,
Declares that an Urgent Care Centre at Chippenham Hospital is needed to improve access to urgent health services and to relieve pressure on nearby Accident and Emergency departments.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to fund an Urgent Care Centre at Chippenham Hospital as proposed by Chippenham’s GPs.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.”