Labour councillors have come out fighting against Conservative cuts to local NHS, public health and social care services.
After a decade of Lib Dem and Tory cuts to Lambeth’s council services huge NHS budget reductions are now planned by the Conservative government.
Papers seen by councillors reveal that over the next four years the government requires NHS bodies serving South East London, including Lambeth, to balance their books.
This effectively means a cut of about £400 million as NHS bodies like King’s College Hospital Trust, for example, is currently spending more than £150 million a year more on services than it gets from the government. Closing this funding gap will mean deep cuts to current levels of care and job losses.
One of the reasons the NHS is struggling to cope with demand is that the Lib Dems and Tories have cut 25% from council public health budgets. Public health services support people to quit smoking, eat more healthily, exercise more and access sexual health and addiction services among other measures to prevent people getting ill in the first place.
The Lib Dems and Tories have also cut what is available for council social care services that support disabled and elderly people live as healthy and independent lives as possible in the community.
By cutting these preventative and enabling services more people end up ill and requiring expensive hospital care.
So now Lambeth Labour councillors are calling on the community to support them in their fight for:
• Central government to invest in South East London’s NHS to at least avoid the £400 million of cuts planned over the next four years
• A reversal of the public health cuts to enable us to prevent more illness occurring in the first place
• A long-term funding solution to the social care funding crisis, like Labour’s National Care Service proposal, to enable more people to stay well and independent in the community
Lambeth Labour is also calling on local NHS bodies to listen to local people and representatives when carrying out the reorganisation being imposed on them by government.
This includes resisting closures and privatisations unless there are good clinical reasons for change. NHS bodies in South East London are also being called on to become London Living Wage accredited employers, employ and train more local people, procure from local organisations as far as possible and put mental health on the same level as physical health.
Lambeth Labour’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care Cllr Ed Davie said: ‘Our whole community relies on the local NHS which is being put under massive strain by Lib Dem and Tory cuts not only to hospitals but to the services that keep us well and independent. If we want our doctors and nurses to always be there for us we’re going to have to fight for it.
‘Whilst we love and will fight for our NHS we also want local NHS bodies to involve people better in decision making, and for them to play a greater part in providing more London Living Wage accredited employment and training opportunities for local people.’