Apr 30 2010 By David Baker
FORMER Prime Minister Tony Blair was in Rayners Lane this morning to praise the success of one of London's first polyclinics – a Labour Government initiative.
He was joined on a short tour of the Alexandra Avenue Surgery by Gareth Thomas who is vying to retain his seat in Harrow West in next week's General Election.
During the walk round he chatted to staff about their roles at the site and was even given a blood pressure test.
Speaking about the success of the surgery, which hosts a number of GP surgeries as well as facilities to carry out minor operations, he said: "In a General Election the people are the decision makers and I think if they come here and see this ground braking centre they will think that if Labour are re-elected then we will see more and more innovative places like this.
"When you get into the final days of an election campaign people really begin to focus on who is providing the answers to their questions.
"I think, in relation to healthcare, this is the answer."
With the election just a matter of days away Mr Thomas has shown the support he has from within the party with a number of ministerial visits.
And Mr Blair was quick to praise the efforts him in his 13 years as an MP.
He added: "I think that Harrow is very key in terms of the election and that is reflected in the quality of the candidates we have here.
"Gareth has done a fantastic job for the local area and has fought for innovative centres like this, while the Tories have fought against it."
During a quick presentation given to the former PM he was told that the centre deals with a patient every 13 minutes and as a result of its expansion caters for 62 per cent of those needing urgent care – that would otherwise used Northwick Park Hospital.
On this Mr Blair added: "The work being done here means that pressure on our local hospitals is being taken away and I know Gareth will be working to build this Polysystem to ensure that continues."