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Residents angry over lack of GP provision in Hoo

Residents are angry about the lack of health services included in housing developments.

Cllr Roy Freshwater (Ukip) wants a better response from Medway Council to his petition which demands additional services, as well as an investigation to check the authority is carrying out all public health legal duties.

The Peninsula representative called for director of public health James Williams to have more of an involvement in planning applications at a meeting held earlier this evening (December 13).

More GPs are needed on the Peninsula
More GPs are needed on the Peninsula

He said: “Doctor numbers are being reduced because Medway Council continues to approve large planning applications, and they have a consequential factor on the GP facilities available for residents.

“People are angry, but neither Medway Council or the director of public health acknowledge that the reduction of doctors is a result of the new planning applications being approved.

“People on the Peninsula believe those planning applications are defective in as far as the director of public health is not highlighting the health and GP consequences of these applications.

“I’m quite aware the council is not responsible for the provision of surgeries – but he is responsible for improving the health of people, and the council’s actions are not improving the Peninsula’s health.”

Cllr Freshwater suggested a third of GPs on the Peninsula plan to retire in the next five years, before claiming there is currently a two-and-a-half week wait for an appointment.

Medway Councillor Roy Freshwater (4889727)
Medway Councillor Roy Freshwater (4889727)

But Mr Williams responded by telling members that NHS England and Medway CCG are responsible for commissioning primary care services, although he can influence both to ensure provision is adequate.

He added: “The issue at hand is whether the housing developments projected or proposed for any area are informed by my team.

“Well, they are – I have a dedicated officer that works with our planning department to scrutinise and review any of those plans that get taken forward.

“I’ve had discussions with our new assistant director, and will have further ones as to how we can ensure any developments in the future do take into account the impact they may have on health.”

Cllr Dan McDonald (Lab), part of the council’s planning committee, said members “do try to take sustainability and infrastructure into account”, but government rules restrict their powers.

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