GP practices are the front line of care in our NHS, and I will do all I can to support them. There have been concerns raised about the future of the Folkestone East Family Practice, following the decision of the current managers not to continue with their contract, to deliver services beyond November this year.
The South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for the commissioning of local GP services, and I have asked them, and NHS England, what they will be doing to support the patients of the Folkestone East Family Practice. NHS England has written to me today to confirm that they will be working with our local CCG “to ensure all the practice’s patients have ongoing access to GP services”. This means that a new contract to deliver these services could be issued to a new GP partnership, who would take over the Folkestone East practice. This has happened recently to GP practices both in Dymchurch and New Romney. Also, if any other practice should require new leadership in the future, it is the responsibility of the CCG and NHS England to ensure that patients continue to have access to local GP services.
There are also concerns that have been raised about the financial support for GPs in our area, under the NHS’s funding formula, which has made if difficult to attract new doctors to come and work here. I have spoken with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and with the Minister for Health responsible for GP services, David Mowat, making a special case for more support from the NHS for our area. I have also arranged for the lead GP for Folkestone to speak directly with the Minister to explain in detail our local requirements. I will do all I can, working with local doctors, to support our GP services.
In the Conservative Party manifesto for the General Election which has been launched today, the Prime Minister, Theresa May has pledged to increase funding for the NHS by £8 billion in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of population for every year of the parliament. Over the course of the next five years, the government will also embark on the most ambitious programme of capital investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen. I want to make sure that we receive our fair share of this extra investment.