Good news for Welwyn Hatfield patients

Sir – The new health centre at the QE2 is excellent news for local residents. Too often, it s difficult to get an appointment at local GP surgeries, whether because doctors are busy or because too few appointments are available in the evenings or at

Sir - The new health centre at the QE2 is excellent news for local residents. Too often, it's difficult to get an appointment at local GP surgeries, whether because doctors are busy or because too few appointments are available in the evenings or at weekends, the only time that some people can get time off work to see their doctor.

The new health centre's opening hours, from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, and the ability to walk in and see a doctor without an appointment, will lead to more local residents seeing a doctor and, consequently, better health across the community.

I've been the first to admit it when the NHS makes bad decisions. The primary care trust's decision, at a time when its government funding was continually rising, to downgrade our accident and emergency unit into an urgent care centre was a mistake, and I joined enthusiastically in the cross-party campaign to ask the primary care trust to change its mind.

So it's welcome to see Tory MP, Grant Shapps, welcoming the new development, even if cautiously.


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It's only a few months since he was vehemently critical of this new additional service for local people. Bizarrely, he opposed the new health centre and even launched a website to criticise the proposal. Sadly, it's never easy for a politician to admit they were wrong, so Grant Shapps' change of mind is particularly welcome.

Of course the NHS isn't perfect. But when our local GPs get the chance to offer a new and enhanced service to local people we should all be pleased.

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Mike Hobday, Labour parliamentary candidate, Welwyn Hatfield.

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