We are incredibly fortunate to have our wonderful NHS but there is always room for improvement, and campaigning for better local healthcare remains one of my top priorities. Even before I was elected in 2010 it was clear that the people of the Devizes Constituency had been totally short-changed by the incomprehensible decision of the former Primary Care Trust, to shut all local minor injuries units and then refuse to deliver on a promise to build a new facility in Devizes. As I pledged in my first ever debate in the House of Commons on July 15th 2010, restoring these local health services and especially delivering a Primary Care Centre for Devizes has been my top local campaigning priority. Since then I have been working with local hospitals, the GP-led Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs across the Constituency, Wiltshire Council, the Department of Health and dozens of local residents to deliver on this promise.
Over the last few years we have been able to welcome more services back into Savernake hospital. Wiltshire Health and Care provide a wide-range of community healthcare services at Savernake, including the Ailesbury Ward – a 15 bed community hospital ward and Chestnut Unit which is a 15-bed therapy-led rehabilitation unit, as well as clinics for physiotherapy, podiatry, diabetes and other conditions. The hospital is also the base for community nurses, therapists and support workers who care for people in their own homes in the surrounding area and for learning disability nurses and therapists who support people with learning disabilities.
In the Devizes area, I was absolutely thrilled when NHS England confirmed that Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been awarded £10m for the development of a GP-led Integrated Health Centre at Marshall Road. Thanks to the work of so many people locally like Dr Richard Sandford-Hill and the Clinical Commissioning Group, local councillors and the doughty DASH2 team, the visits of Health Secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock and detailed work in Westminster with Ministers, we can finally go forward! The £10m new centre which is to be built on land adjacent to the Treatment Centre in Marshall Road will provide modern, fit-for-purpose healthcare premises for the people of the Devizes community area, as well as 50 new homes some of which will be reserved for healthcare keyworkers. The Integrated Care Centre will offer a wide range of care for patients of all five local GP practices, including same-day urgent appointments, and will share services like X-rays with the Devizes Treatment Centre and will provide a location for services currently delivered in Devizes Hospital. Now that the outline business case has been approved - all being well, construction work should commence in 2020 and the aim is to open the new Devizes ICC in late 2021 or early 2022.
Meanwhile, I am also working closely with GPs and other healthcare professionals in the Salisbury Plain area to ensure that vital health services are in place for the 4000 military personnel and their families who will relocate to the Constituency by 2020 under the Army rebasing programme.