YOU must have seen something in the national news over the last two weeks about the lack of health services and social care around the country.

It also seems to have been a recurring theme of my columns over the last few months.

Well I thought I’d do a bit more research.

A number of Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by governments (including our government) at the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

No 3 explicitly relates to health – to 'Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages'.

A related statement suggests that when supported by strong public health policies and with aligned efforts across social, economic, and political domains, primary health care has a central role in achievement of sustainable development.

The National Planning Policy Framework which determines planning policy for England says that the planning system performs a number of roles to ensure sustainable development:

"An economic role – contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;

A social role – supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with [this is the important bit] accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and

An environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy."

Government Planning Guidance also states that "Local planning authorities should ensure that health and wellbeing, and health infrastructure are considered in local and neighbourhood plans and in planning decision making".

Given that the health centres in Wantage, Grove and Faringdon are already running at overcapacity and can’t expand further, what evidence is there that the district council is 'considering' the lack of health facilities in their planning policy and planning decisions?

Perhaps we should put a temporary GP surgery in part of the community hospital until NHS England come to their senses.