The MP for Corby says he has been working tirelessly to find a resolution to the dispute over the town’s urgent care centre and has outlined his plans for the coming weeks.
Tom Pursglove says he intends to raise the saga surrounding funding and the future of the site in Parliament and will write to every home in the borough to support his ‘listening campaign’.
Earlier this week, Corby CCG announced that there were no takers for a new contract due to begin on October 1 - leaving the future of the centre unknown.
Mr Pursglove said: “For the entire time that I have been the local Member of Parliament for Corby and East Northamptonshire, I have been a huge supporter of the Corby Urgent Care Centre - regularly raising it in questions and debates in the House of Commons, having been a frequent visitor to the centre to meet with the superb frontline staff and the management, and having taken every opportunity to promote and champion its work.
“Since I discovered earlier this year that the Urgent Care Centre was under threat, I have been running a proactive ‘Listening Campaign’, to not only retain the Urgent Care Centre, but to see it further improved and enhanced.
“Against the backdrop of ongoing contractual disputes, I have been working tirelessly in support of resolution – continually urging dialogue between NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – whom I have met with regularly to discuss this – and Lakeside+, the current service providers.
“Indeed, I have offered to help facilitate such talks – these offers have been declined previously, however, owing to the presence of formal legal processes, but that offer still stands and I hope it will be taken up, in light of the CCG’s most recent announcement, that no bidder has come forward to run the service after September 30.
“I have always emphasised that I believe the Corby Urgent Care Centre is a vital part of Corby’s health infrastructure, and that of wider North Northamptonshire.
“Not only does it do much to help relieve the pressures on the A&E at Kettering General Hospital, but it also provides a class-leading, much valued, well used, excellent, service to local residents.
“For these reasons, I both appreciated, and welcomed, Corby CCG’s clarification in writing, following our meeting back in March, that the Urgent Care Centre would not be closing, and that any statements otherwise were misleading and wrong.
“That is why I made contact with the CCG, the moment I became aware that this position might have changed, in light of the press release issued on Thursday (Jult 13) by them.
“This consisted of a telephone call with Mike Alexander, the Chief Finance Officer, followed up formally in writing to Carole Dehghani, the Chief Executive. “In that letter, I sought swift and thorough clarification as to their plans - both short and longer-term - whilst emphasising my sustained offer to help broker talks, and asking her to meet with me urgently to discuss these matters. I await her reply.”
Mr Pursglove was criticised yesterday for ‘not doing enough’ but urged any resident with concerns to contact him and says he intends to raise the issue in Parliament next week.
He added: “Given the current uncertainty, my ‘Listening Campaign’ on this issue has now moved into a new phase.
“In addition to the actions outlined above, I want to firmly know and understand what local people feel about this issue, so that I can accurately, and forcefully, relay that feeling to local NHS commissioners.
“That is why I plan to write to every home in the borough of Corby, asking local people to support my ‘Corby Urgent Care Centre Listening Campaign’, to call for this facility to be both protected, and further improved.
“When I get back to Parliament on Monday, I will also be applying for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on this issue.
“I also intend to speak about this issue during a debate on Thursday (July 20), and hope to have the opportunity to raise this at an appropriate time this week in Commons Questions.
“Furthermore, having copied my letter to Ms Dehghani to both the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, and the Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne MP (who responded to an Adjournment Debate on Kettering General Hospital a fortnight ago, where I was able to raise the importance of the Urgent Care Centre), I intend to follow-up formally with them in writing, whilst I also hope to speak to them about this matter.
“I have also arranged for my two north Northamptonshire colleagues - Peter Bone MP (Wellingborough), and Philip Hollobone MP (Kettering) - to accompany me on a further visit to the Urgent Care Centre on Monday, July 24, given the significance of this facility to their constituents too.
“Finally, I want to say that I agree with those local residents who have said to me that this issue must not become a party political football.
“What is at stake, is far more important than that.
“That is why I have written to Cllr Tom Beattie, the Labour leader of Corby Council, reaffirming the sentiment expressed at our most recent meeting a fortnight ago, where we agreed to work together on this issue - as we have on other matters, such as steel - should the need arise.
“I believe that need has arisen.
“I would also be delighted to hear from any resident, including representatives of ‘Save Corby Urgent Care Centre’, who have concerns about this issue – that feedback is invaluable and I would be delighted to help relay it to NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group, in order that they fully understand the strength of feeling on this.
“I can be contacted via telephone on 020 7219 8043, via email to email@example.com, or in writing to Tom Pursglove MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
“I also hold a weekly Advice Surgery in Corby, where I would be delighted to meet concerned residents – please call for an appointment.
“I am determined that my ‘Corby Urgent Care Centre Listening Campaign’ will ensure the views of my constituents are heard loud and clear, and that, together, we will not only fight to retain the centre, but for it to be further improved.”
Corby’s MEP Margot Parker, who lives in the town and has used the facility, said: “Knowing the people of Corby as I do, it comes as no surprise they will fight tooth and nail for this vital service to stay open.
“Having used this centre myself I know just how vital it is.
“Not only is it a fantastic facility but it also relieves the pressure on Kettering General Hospital.
“I hope the centre gets the funding it deserves – if there’s anything as the town’s MEP I can do, I would urge people to contact me.”