Rory visited the Birbeck Medical Practice in Penrith to see firsthand the hard work being done by its GPs and staff to treat their 16,000 patients and keep them healthy. He was struck not just by the quality of their work, but also by their over-crowded premises, and is keen to convince the healthcare trust to help them move into more suitable accommodation. It is the single largest practice in Cumbria, and staff have been campaigning for years for bigger and more suitable premises to help ensure they remain able to provide good local healthcare in the long-term.

Over an afternoon visit, Rory was shown the cramped and overcrowded conditions in which some staff in Birbeck are having to work and treat patients. It was highlighted for example that the waiting room – which currently only seats 38 – is in need of both more seating and more space for patients in wheelchairs, or parents with pushcairs. Following a tour of the premises, the MP subsequently had the chance to speak with Birbeck’s partners to understand why it has proven so difficult up until now to improve the premises, and where challenges remain.

Rory said:

“The state and future of the NHS remains one of the biggest concerns for everyone in Britain, and so it is always extremely valuable to understand the service from the point of view of the doctors, nurses and office staff who see firsthand where we are doing well, and where problems remain.

Birbeck is a great local practice, and it is clear that everyone is working incredibly hard to ensure it continues to provide a great level of care. From a tour around the practice however, you quickly see that there is a need for more office space and improvements to the structure and layout of the premises to ensure it can continue to provide for its 16,000 patients. I have agreed to offer all the support I can to Dr Hodkin and his team. I raised it with the Health Minister in person as soon as I got to Westminster, and I will speak with the Partnerhsip Trust to understand why more cannot be done to improve the building.”

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