MPs seek investment in Northamptonshire healthcare

MPs Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and Andy Sawford
MPs Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and Andy Sawford

North Northamptonshire’s three MPs are set for talks with a minister next week as they seek millions of pounds of investment in health services in the area.

The meeting, with Health Minister Dan Poulter, comes almost exactly a year after Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and Andy Sawford launched a cross-party initiative to save services at Kettering General Hospital.

The threat to departments including accident and emergency and maternity receded when it was decided the future of services would be determined locally rather than by the Healthier Together group.

But the MPs say the second phase of their plan – to secure extra funding for healthcare in the north of the county – is ongoing.

Along with local health partners, they will meet Department of Health officials on Wednesday to pitch for £20m of investment at Kettering General Hospital and £3m for community services. They want to improve the services based on the success of the Corby Urgent Care Centre.

Mr Sawford, MP for Corby and East Northants, said: “We led a delegation from the hospital and from local commissioners to the Department of Health in July to highlight the need for capital investment, and in July we asked the Clinical Commissioning Groups – Corby Healthcare and Nene – to work together with Kettering General Hospital to develop a shared action plan.

“Philip Hollobone and I met them in November to hear the proposals and agreed to seek Government support.”

Mr Hollobone added: “The hospital is operating at record volumes and needs additional capital funds to improve the fabric of the accident and emergency department.”

The MP for Kettering said there had been three challenges when the joint campaign was launched a year ago, namely the threat from Healthier Together, the problem the hospital has with not meeting accident and emergency targets and the financial situation at the hospital.

He said: “There’s now no question mark over the future of Kettering General Hospital.

“A year on, we have ticked one of those three boxes. I am hoping we will get a second tick in the next few weeks. We are in a better position, but we are not out of the woods.”

Mr Bone, Wellingborough and Rushden MP, says investment in healthcare services would relieve A&E pressure.

He said: “What this proposal does is get an urgent care centre at the Isebrook Hospital – it will become more like a community hospital, which is what we desperately need and which I have been campaigning for for years.

“It will mean, for the first time, people who have an accident in my constituency won’t have to go to Kettering.”