Finally, good news for Woking and the NHS. On the evening of Tuesday, November 7, both our NHS and hometown of Woking finally got some good news – Woking Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved plans to expand Woking Community Hospital.

As a result of this decision, the hospital will be able to open a diagnostic centre and provide more much-needed health facilities in Woking.

This follows my motion to Woking council, which was also unanimously approved, last year. The council agreed to work in partnership with the NHS to bring more facilities to Woking. Since then, the council and NHS have been working closely together – and this is the result.

Our local hospital does currently provide some diagnostic services, but these services are very limited. Woking has just one ultrasound machine and one X-ray machine, and limited blood-taking services. At the moment, residents in Woking need to go to Ashford, Chertsey or Guildford for basic diagnostic services.

The Lib Dems and I think it is unreasonable for people to travel outside the borough for simple medical tests or a diagnosis. Which is why I am delighted plans that to expand our community hospital have now been approved.

It’s vital we have more health facilities in Woking – rather than forcing people to travel outside the borough for basic services. The investment at Woking’s hospital should reduce waits, speed up treatment and turn the building into a vibrant and modern health facility.

Construction of the expansion will start and finish next year, so from late 2024 onwards we will all have access to a local community hospital with adult audiology testing faculties, blood-taking services, bone-density scanners, cardiac testing, CT scanners, fibro scanning liver testing, MRI scanners, respiratory testing, sleep study testing and ultrasounds. A growing town and borough like Woking should, of course, have a well-equipped hospital to serve local people.

As the diagnostic centre will partly be built on the hospital’s car park, the borough council will be offering the NHS discounted parking permits for staff based at the Heathside Road facility. Although the hospital’s car park is the responsibility of the NHS, the council can play its part in easing pressure on parking at the community hospital.

Finally, as well as delivering a diagnostic centre, this news shows how Woking Borough Council – under new leadership – is working. The new-look council is a strong advocate for our borough; it listens to residents, and it will be a local authority that works in partnership. By working with others, in this case the NHS, we can achieve more for local people than acting alone.