A change of procedure

PARLIAMENT returning has meant one good thing at least.

As reported in today's Mail on page 11, the petition calling for Askam’s GP surgery to be saved (signed by over 500 residents) has finally been submitted formally to the House of Commons.

Normally doing this - as with much of what happens in Parliament - is a very formal affair.

Typically, you would march through the House of Commons and present your bundle of papers to the Speaker.

In the new world, a scanned copy and an email sufficed.

Not quite as dramatic, but with the same result: a clear showing that over a third of local residents want a GP service to remain.

Saving that surgery requires four things: patients, a venue, a GP practice willing to work there, and the Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to sign it off.

This week, the Save our Surgery group has gone a long way to achieving three of the above, with the fourth a work in progress.

The petition demonstrates that there is a clear need from potential patients.

I’m glad to reveal that one local medical practice has formally expressed an interest in running a branch practice operation at Parkland Surgery.

And a conditional offer has been accepted on the existing practice building for a surgery to continue to operate from that venue.

So, we’re moving in the right direction and I’m optimistic we will be able to square off getting/having both a GP and a location.

But we’re by no means there yet.

The interested medical practice is in the process of submitting their business plan to the Morecambe Bay CCG.

And once this process has properly been completed, the CCG will convene a meeting to consider the application and rule upon it.

Coronavirus shows that now, more than ever, we need good, local NHS services.

These developments are encouraging steps forward -things are heading in the right direction.

The commitment of Askam and Ireleth residents, parish, borough and county councillors, and the Local Medical Committee, is the engine behind this incredible grassroots effort. Thank you, from me to them.

Up the Bluebirds

ON Wednesday, the Vanarama National League took the decision to cancel all of their remaining fixtures.

Barrow AFC sit proudly top of the league and are regarded by many people, both near and far, as the worthy league winners and, therefore, to have earned promotion back into the English Football League.

Those who know me, know that I'm not a football man.

But even a novice like me can see that Barrow AFC has put in the hard yards and deserves to be promoted.

So, last week I wrote to the Chief Executives of both the English Football League and the National League, calling on them to do the right thing and promote the Bluebirds up into League Two.

The Club, supporters, and team under Ian Evatt have been incredible - pulling together and ending the season (as much as was played) on a high with no one else getting within touching distance.

Barrow AFC deserve promotion. It would be such a boost for Barrow at this time and mean so much.

Let’s hope that English Football League do the right thing.