The next stage of my campaign to Upgrade Melksham Hospital is to build the business case for investment, so that we can show an upgraded site in Melksham would be viable, and to bring the community together to find the best way of making it happen.
I met the Integrated Care Board (who manage local NHS services and the budget) last month to make the case to them again, I have invited the Health Secretary to visit the site, and I am also due to sit down with him in the next few weeks to discuss it.
I’ve been campaigning for more funding for our local health services since 2015, and we are putting more money than ever before into the NHS to tackle the problems caused by the pandemic, something I am very supportive of.
Melksham, however, has had more than its fair share of housing over the years, and local health facilities have not grown in line with these new houses. This has led to local people experiencing difficulties and long waits getting the treatment they need.
Many also have to travel to larger hospitals in Bath, Bristol and Swindon for routine tests and procedures, which can be time consuming, expensive and inaccessible for those relying on public transport to get treatment or visit loved ones.
The minor injuries unit at Melksham was closed back in 2002 and the last ward was shut in 2007 under the previous Labour Government, something I have always believed would cause capacity issues further down the line.
Securing investment to upgrade the site is a long-term goal for Melksham and the wider area, and whilst it won’t happen overnight, we know that more equipment, staff and services would make a real difference for accessing treatment, as well as increasing capacity for urgent care at our larger hospitals.
Now we need to build the community case for investment, and show that an upgraded site in Melksham is viable, so I am going to create a steering group to look at the best way of making it happen. The campaign also has the backing of Melksham’s Conservative Councillor candidates.
I will be raising this at every opportunity with the Department for Health and the ICB over the next few months, so do look out for further updates.