In recent weeks many constituents have contacted me regarding the provision of health services in Ripley. This is following the news of the proposal by the Jessop Medical Practice to close their Ripley surgery, and the rumoured threats to the future of Ripley Hospital. I therefore want to offer some reassurance on the positive future plans for community health services in Ripley.
I am fully committed to seeing improved health services right across Amber Valley, including easier access to GPs as well as retaining and improving health facilities. This is why during the previous Parliament I campaigned to get Heanor Memorial Hospital rebuilt, and work on the new health care facility is due to be completed by the end of this year. This Government has also been working to ensure GP surgeries are open in the evenings and at weekends so that patients can get the right care when they need it.
The key to delivering improved health outcomes is having more services delivered in the community, and this is the main theme of the plan that the local NHS bodies in Derbyshire have drawn up, called “Joined Up Care in Derbyshire (Sustainability and Transformation Plan).” This plan is local, independent of the Government and its priorities include tailoring services to look after and focus on people in their communities, so that the outcome is more targeted care and support. In addition to this the plan highlights the need for easy access to the right care, whenever it is needed, so everyone can get a higher quality and quicker support across the system. This would help keep Accident & Emergency, Minor Injury Units and Urgent Care Centres free for patients who really need them.
Local community hospitals like Ripley, including the Minor Injuries Unit, are therefore critical to making this plan work. There is no threat to its future, and the Trust that runs it have confirmed this.
I regret that Jessop Medical Practice are consulting on closing their Ripley site and operating only from Leabrooks, considering this to be the best option for their future. I have met with Jessop, with the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Ivy Grove surgery to discuss the impact these changes will have on patients in Ripley. All of these organisations were committed to working to ensure that any patient that needs to see a GP in Ripley will be able to do so. I have also discussed with them the potential uses for space left at the Primary Care Centre and my belief that this should be used to provide additional outpatient appointments in Ripley if at all possible.
I am optimistic that health care provision in the Ripley area will improve and increase in the coming years.