Cllr Christina Valcarcel gave a speech at full council in support of Lambeth Labour’s #FightingForOurNHS campaign. Cllr Valcarcel is the Deputy Cabinet Member for Disability, and a councillor in Larkhall ward.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on an issue so close to my heart – the NHS and the health of our residents.
As Deputy Cabinet member, leading on services for residents with disabilities, I know that health is our most valuable asset as individuals and communities, the burden of ill health directly affecting our livelihoods.
This burden is not equal across society, with some groups being more likely to be impacted by chronic diseases at a younger age. Representing 13% of our population, residents with disabilities deserve the dignity and independence that quality social care can offer them.
In the past 9 years, government cuts have led to £4.6 billion lost from social care budgets, despite rising demands. Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet on a daily basis.
But the government is not showing its interest and funding it properly and on a long term basis. The Tories have spent nine years running down the NHS, imposing the biggest cash squeeze in its history and slashing social care services.
In the unlikely event that the government would meet its manifesto commitments to increase NHS spending, this would not come close to meeting the projected funding gap of more than £20 billion by the end of this parliament.
The continued under-investment in capital projects has left the NHS with deteriorating facilities and a £2.8 billion cost to address parts of the estate with high or significant maintenance risks.
Lambeth Labour are leading a campaign to protect our NHS, ensuring that there is a focus on investments, that there is real accountability for local elected representatives, residents and service user to influence NHS decisions locally, that there are no closures or privatisations, and that we protect NHS staff and prepare for the future.
It is essential that we push towards the NHS being appropriately funded so that all NHS staff get paid the London Living Wage.
Labour in government will give the NHS the funding it needs, tackle the recruitment crisis and provide a clear plan to reduce waiting lists, restoring the standard of care patients expect and deserve.
Thank you and I invite colleagues from all parties to join us in our fight to ensure that the NHS is prepared for the future.
Cllr Christina Valcarcel