“I was delighted to hear from the NHS that the threat to Sherston’s Tolsey Surgery has been averted, thanks at least in part to people power,” said James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire.
In a conversation with the MP, Sue Harriman, CEO of the Regional Integrated Care Board apologised for the scare which had been caused by one particular document, and undertook that the surgery would not close, nor be amalgamated with Malmesbury; but that instead the ICB would continue to work closely with the Council and other parties towards a brand new surgery in Sherston.
“We can confirm that there are no plans to close Tolsey Surgery or to remove provision of primary care services from the village of Sherston” said Sue Harriman.
“The ICB has been working with Tolsey Surgery for many years to look at securing a sustainable premises solution…[We will] work with the GP partners at Tolsey Surgery, the Parish Council, and Wiltshire Council to finding a cost-effective solution that also ensures high quality primary care is maintained in Sherston, and surrounding towns and villages.”
Commenting James Gray said:
“I am delighted that the ICB have listened to the clearly expressed concerns of hundreds of local residents concerned about apparent proposals to close this popular and well used Surgery. As I said “ destroying the Tolsey would be an act of the worst kind of bureaucratic vandalism; and I pledge to do whatever I can to prevent it.” I am glad that People Power has prevailed, and I will continue to work with the Tolsey Surgery, Wiltshire Council and the Integrated Care Board to ensure a new building and the successful future of the surgery for many years to come.”
James Gray, Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire has today set out his plans to campaign to save the popular Tolsey Surgery in Sherston. This follows the announcement by Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Integrated Care Board that they plan to move the staff and services provided by the surgery to Malmesbury Primary Care Centre.
Writing in his popular weekly column James Gray laid out his plans to save the Surgery:
“I really do feel strongly about this one, and will pledge to do all I can to support the people of Sherston in saving their surgery. It’ll be a matter of a letter writing campaign; no doubt a petition; perhaps public meetings, in all of which I will gladly play a part. Then I will raise it with the Secretary of State for Health in writing; I will seek to ask an Oral Question about it during Health Questions; perhaps a 1.5 hour Westminster Hall Debate to which a Health Minister would be compelled to reply”
Writing to Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Integrated Care Board James said:
“I was very concerned to be contacted by a large number of constituents over the weekend regarding the proposed closure of Tolsey Surgery in Sherston in my constituency. It is very disappointing that you did not see fit to contact me or my office directly to share this information and that I have found out about your plans via Facebook and correspondence.
As you will no doubt be aware Sherston’s Neighbourhood Plan which was endorsed by 97% of residents made provision for a new, modern building for the popular Tolsey Surgery. It is somewhat surprising then that you have made the decision that the Surgery should be closed, and its staff and services moved to Malmesbury Primary Care Centre. This must not happen.
It is my understanding that as well as failing to consult me about these plans you have also failed to consult both Tolsey Surgery and its users. This is disappointing as it is vital for them that they have a modern local surgery to meet their needs. It is likely that without a surgery in the village or direct transport links to Malmesbury the elderly, vulnerable and those without a car would not be able to access routine healthcare. This will exacerbate health inequalities that are unfortunately often far too prevalent in rural areas.
I understand that your present plans are only a draft, and it is my view that that is how they should remain. In the meantime, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you alongside Sherston residents, Tolsey Surgery users and Parish Councillors so you can hear the strength of feeling about your proposals in the community. I would be grateful if you could liaise with my office and Sherston Parish Council to arrange this.
I have copied this letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP so that he is aware of your plans. I have also requested a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss this matter.”
James has pledged to keep constituents updated on his campaign as it progresses in the weeks ahead.
At Home Office questions on Monday 3rd of July James Gray, Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire once again raised the inappropriate use of the Wiltshire Hotel. Following up on an earlier Question where the Minster for Immigration reiterated his desire to move away from Hotel accommodation James Gray asked:
“While I do very much welcome the Minister’s determination to move away from hotels and towards other accommodation, will he give particular attention to the Wiltshire hotel and golf club in my constituency? The number there has gone up: there are now 120 people there, and they are all crammed into very small accommodation. It is not only bad from the point of view of the golf club members and neighbouring long-term residents with them in housing next door, but it is an extremely bad place from the point of view of the asylum seekers. They have nowhere to go and nothing to do. They have no education facilities and no religious facilities. They are stuck in the middle of the countryside with no transport, and it is quite the wrong place for them to be. Will the Minister please give particular attention to the Wiltshire hotel?”
Responding in the House of Commons, Minister for Immigration, Robert Jenrick said:
“I am familiar with the hotel in my hon. Friend’s constituency and the concerns he has raised. I will take a look at that, but as I have said previously, the answer to this challenge is to stop the boats coming in the first place. That is why we all need to support the Illegal Migration Bill. Those who want more hotels would oppose it. The Labour party’s policy will see more hotels, and the shadow Home Secretary will end up with more hotels to her name than Paris Hilton.”
James continues to support the Government’s actions to reduce small boat crossings and will continue to push ministers to end the use of the Wiltshire Hotel.
James Gray MP has welcomed the publication of the Etherton Report into the service and treatment of LGBT veterans who served prior to 2000 but pushes for the recommendations to be taken onboard without further delay.
In the Chamber on Wednesday, Mr Gray spoke in response to the Defence Secretary’s statement on the matter, saying:
“This is a very fine report, and Lord Etherton has done a first-class job in bringing it forward. I very much welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has made a real and heartfelt apology—as did my right hon. Friend in his statement—for this historic outrage.
However, would the House agree that the real outrage is that nothing at all has happened for 22 years? It has taken us as a nation 22 years, under all parties, to put this thing right. That is quite wrong. I therefore think that the sincerity of the Prime Minister’s apology will be judged not only by how well he does in achieving the 49 recommendations in the report but by how enthusiastically, how rapidly and how well he brings those things forward. The LGBT community are waiting to see what he does. We look forward to the debate in the autumn and we will judge him by the enthusiasm with which he adopts these recommendations.”
Mr Gray received strong support from the Defence Secretary, who mentioned he would also fight the cause from the backbenches in September when he steps down from his role as Secretary of State.
“I cannot answer the question of why it took 22 years. All I can say is that, from the authority I have in my office for now, having been able to commission this report and start this process is something that I am proud and pleased to have done, ably supported by the Veterans Minister and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, and by my colleague the Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison). I can only speak for that. As for the enthusiasm and support for getting this implemented, I will be sitting alongside my hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire (James Gray) and I can hold whoever comes to this Dispatch Box to account to do it. I absolutely think we should do it with enthusiasm. At one stage we thought about just having a full debate on this today, but that would have involved coming here with no solutions. That would be the worst thing to do to the House. The best thing is to come here with this statement today and come back after the summer and hold the Government to account. I will be there, beside my hon. Friend, holding them to account on whether they uphold these recommendations.”
Mr Gray has worked alongside colleagues and, in particular, the charity Fighting With Pride, to ensure that LGBT veterans receive the recognition and support that they deserve and will continue to do so.
James Gray, Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire has welcomed £2,115,269 of Conservative Government funding for bus companies and Wiltshire to extend the £2 bus fare cap, as part of a £500 million investment to freeze bus fares nationally and improve vital local routes – ensuring passengers can continue to ‘Get Around for £2’ while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sector.
The Government is investing £200 million in extending the cap for single bus fares at £2 outside of London until October 2023, and then at £2.50 until 30 November 2024.
Although the initial cap – announced at the start of this year – was introduced as a temporary measure, the scheme has successfully encouraged many more people to use local bus services, benefitting local economies, supporting jobs, and helping passengers with the cost of living.
A further £300 million has been announced to protect routes and services that are relied on for work, education, medical appointments, and shopping. As part of this, local transport authorities will receive £160 million to improve fares, services, and infrastructure, while £140 million will directly support operators in protecting essential services.
Across North Wiltshire, journeys including on the 55 bus route linking Chippenham, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon will be reduced to £2.
Commenting, James Gray said:
“Buses are vital to people across North Wiltshire helping people to access work, education, shops, and appointments – and keeping the cost of fares down will make a real difference to the lives of the millions of people who use them every day.
“That is why I am delighted the Government will be committing £500 million across the country, extending the £2 cap fare and protecting and improving vital local routes.
“This will help people to keep costs down, as the Government works to halve inflation, grow the economy, and reduce debt.”
Commenting, Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:
“Taking the bus is the most popular form of public transport and millions of people rely on these vital services every day.
“This half a billion pounds investment will help people save money amid cost of living pressures and continue to level up transport in all parts of the country, doing our bit to help halve inflation and grow the economy.”
© 2022 Promoted by Nick Botterill, on behalf of James Gray, both of North Wiltshire Conservatives, 12 Brown Street, Salisbury SP1 1HE.