BY JACK FRIEND
A new health centre is to be named after one of South London’s most revered MPs, who died in May 2018.
The complex in Dulwich is to be named after Dame Tessa Jowell, a former minister who played a pivotal role in bringing the Olympics to London in 2012.
Ms Jowell, pictured, had campaigned for the new NHS health centre for more than 20 years as an MP and Baroness, as well as coming up with the idea of hosting the Olympics as Culture Secretary.
The name was decided after a public vote where Tessa Jowell came out on top as the most popular out of six names.
The Tessa Jowell Health Centre will open in the spring of next year, and an opening ceremony will take place later this year.
It will be home to a GP surgery, mental health and children’s services, blood testing, kidney dialysis, physiotherapy and some other hospital clinics.
Tessa Jowell first won the Dulwich and West Norwood seat at the 1992 General Election with a majority of 2,056 after beating the incumbent Conservative MP Gerald Bowden.
Ms Jowell went on to hold various positions in the shadow cabinet under Tony Blair before Labour swept to victory in 1997.
Following Labour’s landslide victory that year she became Minister of State in the Department of Health.
But Ms Jowell’s finest hour came after the 2001 General Election when the then Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed her as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
She pressed the government to launch a bid for the 2012 Olympics, but the government was uncertain, as they felt that Paris were going to win. The government came round to the idea and, thanks to Ms Jowell’s dedication, London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics.
But Ms Jowell’s one true passion was health, and even when she was undergoing chemotherapy, she was still campaigning for better cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS.
She also inspired Brixton activist Mohamed Hashi to help create the Brixton Soup Kitchen – and become a Labour councillor. He is now in charge of community engagement for Lambeth council.
NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, Dr Jonty Heaversedge, said, “The decision is a poignant reminder of the high esteem in which Tessa continues to be held by local people and is a fitting tribute to a much-loved and greatly missed public figure.”
Tessa’s husband, David Mills, said: “Tessa was deeply committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the people she represented in South-east London, and a new health centre in Dulwich was a project very close to her heart.
“Our family is thrilled and very touched that the health centre is to be named in Tessa’s memory. We are enormously grateful to people in Dulwich and south Southwark for this lovely gesture.”
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