Cheltenham's Conservative MP hopeful has called on NHS bosses to listen to residents' concerns about the lack of health services in one of the town's most deprived wards. Mr Chalk's plea follows a long running campaign by residents in Oakley, who currently have to travel to the Sixways surgery in Charlton Kings or the St Paul's surgery in order to see a doctor. They believe the lack of NHS facilities in their local area is putting more pressure on Cheltenham's A+E, as those in need of treatment have no option but to go straight to the emergency department. This problem could be made worse by the closure of the Seven Posts surgery in Prestbury, which is set to merged with the Bishops Cleeve health centre under plans put forward by the NHS Trust.
Now the man who wants to be the town's next MP believes that the time is now right for a new surgery in the heart of Oakley. Commenting on his campaign, Alex said ''I believe there is a strong case for a new GP's surgery in this area, which has a higher than average proportion of elderly people living there, so it is difficult to access NHS facilities unless you get two buses or can afford a taxi. That is driving more people through our emergency department and increasing pressure there. Any decision on location would up to the NHS trust and local residents, but with plans being put in place to redevelop the Whaddon Road car park, I believe this could be a good potential site for a new surgery.''
Mr Chalk believes that despite increasing pressure on NHS resources, the residents' campaign is still achievable. He added that if the ''demand and will is there, anything is possible'' and that he ''would be writing to the NHS trust to ask them to seriously consider this proposal.''