What a whirlwind month this has been – I am so grateful to have been elected as your Member of Parliament and I have greatly enjoyed getting fully stuck in to the job. After the by-election, I have been getting settled in Westminster and getting to grips with all the issues facing my constituents.
Living and working in West Oxfordshire means that I very much appreciate all the strengths of the constituency – as well as a few issues which could be improved.
I will be celebrating all the amazing things that take place in West Oxfordshire and promoting the fantastic things there are to see and do. This is why I brought Chipping Norton's nomination in the Great British High Street of the Year competition to the attention of the Prime Minister in PMQs earlier this month. I will have my fingers crossed for Chipping Norton, and Imogen Haverty who is nominated in the Under 25 High Street Hero category, when the results are revealed in December.
However, I am keenly aware through my surgeries and inbox that there are many issues which residents are passionate and concerned about.
As many of you know, the proposed closure of Deer Park Medical Centre is a great source of concern for Witney residents, and was a key topic during the by-election campaign. Residents want the surgery to remain open. Patients want a guarantee that they are able to see a doctor or a nurse when they need to. This has been a concern I have heard again and again at street stalls and on doorsteps.
I have kept my promise to make this my top priority since being elected. I have met with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and I will be meeting with Virgin Care, who currently provide services at Deer Park. It is so important that these important stakeholders are working together to find the best possible solution for patients, and I continue to make the case for Deer Park in the strongest possible terms.
I have also met with the Deer Park Patient Participation Group to fully understand the concerns of those directly affected and to discuss what I can do to help. We will be keeping a continuing dialogue to ensure that patients are being fully considered and consulted throughout this process.
It is not acceptable to roll over and accept this closure especially when preceded by so little consultation. There are 4500 people being treated at this surgery, to say nothing of the thousands more if Witney expands. There will be a knock on effect on other surgeries, increasing waiting times. I will continue to fight hard for constituents about this issue until a proper outcome can be reached.
I wanted to become an MP to represent all those in my constituency – that means advocating all the fantastic things happening in West Oxfordshire as well as fighting residents' corners. I am excited to continue to work both locally and in Westminster over the coming years – and I look forward to my monthly column in the Witney Gazette!
If any readers have an issue which they want me as their MP to help with, do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at Robert Courts MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
Published 30.11.16 in the Witney Gazette.