Fight for new Hornchurch health centre goes on

We plough on with our campaign for a new health centre on the former St George’s Hospital site on Suttons Lane, and today brought together two different parts of the NHS to try to work through some of the barriers to the development. This follows a meeting I had with Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, in March which was very positive and came just before an announcement to help health authorities retain NHS land for new facilities.

I believe a new health centre on the St George's site is vital in delivering expanded GP services, an integrated local health and social care system, improved mental health services and a less-pressured Queen’s Hospital.

The St George’s Hospital site on Suttons Lane has stood empty since 2012 and was sold by the NHS to developer, Bellway, back in March. NHS Property realised £43 million when it sold St George’s, and I asked the Health Secretary in parliament to review the bid for a new health centre to convince the local community that they benefit when local NHS assets are sold. He replied that he looks forward to working with me and local commissioners before the spending review, when the next round of the capital allocations will be set. In the meantime, the Delivery Board is seeking feedback on their bid for NHS capital funding, which unfortunately was not successful. They continue to explore all available options to fund the centre and ensure it can be delivered sustainably for the local NHS.

The Health Secretary recently launched a ten-year plan to enable people to live longer, healthier lives and get the most out of the extra £20.5 billion that the government is injecting into the NHS. Given that the plan focuses on prevention and treating people out of hospital, I believe the proposed St George’s centre, offering outpatient clinics, GP services and a joint team of health and social care professionals, is just the kind of solution we need to improve local services and ease pressure on Queen’s Hospital. I shall continue to press the NHS to change its mind.