The more I've been talking to residents recently, the clearer it becomes that there is a healthcare crisis brewing in Mill Hill and other areas of Barnet. There is one reason for this. Overdevelopment. Whilst we've been out speaking to the residents of the Millbrook Park development , we've met many who are unable to register their children with GP practices as all local practices are full.
As someone living with cancer, I have to regularly use the services at my local GP surgery. Over the last couple of years, it has become increasingly difficult to get an appointment or even get through to book one. Local Facebook groups are awash with reports of residents unable to get through to book appoinments.
It is clear that the level of overdevelopment in Mill Hill is creating a situation where the GP service simply can't cope. We need Barnet Council and the Mayor of London to stage a public enquiry into local health services and develop a plan to ensure that everyone in Mill Hill and Barnet can get proper access to GP services, as both are party to approval of these massive developments.
We are seeing huge developments in Mill Hill. The Medical Research is currently being redeveloped and there are plans for a massive 800 dwelling development in Pentavia retail park. The local GP services are already stretched to breaking point. Where are the new GP practices, dentists and other services to cope with all of this.
It is not just GP appointments that are in crisis. Barnet Council has recently cut funding for specialist breastfeeding support. They are rather misleadingly claiming that this will now be done by "midwives and breastfeeding buddies". Breastfeeding promotes infant health, reduces infection and is cheaper than formula milk. Have a look at these statements from the Barnet Conservatives website
Another issue to consider is that many new developments are being built on sites with extremely poor air quality. This is creating a health crisis for the next generation of Barnet residents. Some sites in Mill Hill are amongst the most polluted in Western Europe. Building such flats with no GP provision is criminally negligent in our opinion.
The council needs to ensure that the services are in place to cope with the residents we already have. No new major developments should be passed until it can be demonstrated that the infrastructure is in place to cope with it.
We have to start to take a joined up approach to developments. These mega projects need to be part of a holistic plan, not just thrown up on any available plot of land with a "To hell with the consequences" attitude by developers who are making millions.