MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week I met with the clinical chief officer for Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Dr Tony Naughton, to discuss future health provision in St Annes.

The meeting came about after the CCG revealed plans to move Poplar House Surgery into the nearby Durham Avenue Health Centre, as its building is no longer fit for purpose.

For me, that centre is already extremely busy and to fill up what space remains with more patients seems to be short-term thinking, particularly in light of the hundreds of new homes currently planned for the area.

My misgivings came from the fact I had previously been informed Poplar House would be replaced with a new building, something I supported wholeheartedly as I believe that would help ensure we have the appropriate health sites needed in the area long-term.

The CCG agreed to go away and have another look at its plans while, for my part, I promised I would support them in any funding applications needed for a new site.

On Friday I attended an awards ceremony for the Lytham branch of Home Instead Senior Care, a company which provides extra support for older people who wish to remain in their own home.

These days there is a lot more support on offer for families to care for their loved-ones at home and speaking to some of the staff from Home Instead I was impressed by their passion for their work and commitment to helping people.

Earlier that evening, I held a surgery in Freckleton where a number of issues with local policing were brought up, including by one shopkeeper who said they had reported a theft on Boxing Day only to receive a response in March.

That clearly is not good enough and it is not the first time people have complained to me that rural areas have been hit hard by changes to policing policy. However, when I have raised this with the current Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) I have been assured it is not the case that Fylde loses out to areas like Blackpool and Preston.

Following my surgery, I asked the Home Secretary in Parliament how she intends to make sure PCCs support rural areas and Theresa May took the opportunity to remind people how important it is to vote in the coming elections to ensure Lancashire gets a commissioner whose priorities reflect the people of Fylde’s.

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