North Dorset MP Bob Walter has welcomed the introduction of a new Community Hospitals Bill to Parliament, which he hopes will strengthen the future of these vital local care centres in North Dorset and across the country.
The Community Hospitals Bill was presented and supported by a cross-party group of MPs – including Bob – who want to see England’s 300 plus community hospitals continue to play a key role in local health care.
Bob was asked to sponsor this Bill by lead MP Charlie Elphicke as a result of his support for local hospitals at Blandford and Shaftesbury in previous parliamentary debates.
The aim of the Bill is to promote the community ownership of local hospitals currently owned by the NHS Property Services Ltd and to bring community hospitals closer to their host communities once again.
Bob believes that this would not only help to secure the future of these much-loved hospitals, but provide a real opportunity to enable GPs to have more of a say in what happens in them and to use community hospitals more effectively in bringing together health and social care.
The latter is vital for rural constituencies like Bob’s where access to public transport is low and the numbers of elderly people high.
Bob said: “I was delighted to be an official sponsor of the Community Hospitals Bill and look forward to seeing it progress through the House. Many MPs from all parties recognise the current and future value of community hospitals and their potential to bringing care closer to home – something this Government has long promoted.
“Many community hospitals were founded by public subscription in local community trusts and I agree with Charlie Elphicke that our communities should be given the option to run them properly and competently again, as they did so well in the past. This would present opportunities for greater local input and reassure local communities as to the future of these much-loved hospitals.”