Concern about health service budgets – back the campaign here

Over the summer the NHS turned sixty-five. Having a health service, free at the point of use, is one of Labour’s greatest achievements and I was proud to join in local celebrations.

But there is some worrying news emerging that the Government is planning a huge redistribution of health service budgets across England which will hit our area hard. Local health bosses have told me they are very concerned at these plans which, unless we stop them, will have a devastating impact on NHS services in our area.

The proposals currently being considered would shift NHS resources to areas where people tend to live longer. They would see NHS budgets in Wakefield cut by £43 million or over 10%. That is the equivalent of losing one pound in every ten. In Leeds budgets could go down by £84 million.

And yet at the same time as our budgets are being cut, wealthier parts of the country would actually seeing their budgets increase by up to 10%. How can that be fair?

The Wakefield MPs and I called an emergency meeting with the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group who are in charge of these budgets to listen to their deep concerns. We all know the impact this would have of people living in our area. And we are clear – we have to get the plans changed before they get the go ahead in December.

And we’re calling on other MPs to get involved too. It’s not just a problem in Wakefield and Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees budgets are also been cut dramatically. Across West Yorkshire as a whole over £210 million of NHS funding could be lost.

The top down reorganization of the NHS has already cost the local health service £30 million. Losing more will hit patient services hard. And people are genuinely worried about the direction our health service is taking.

Even before these new changes to local budgets, I’m already hearing worrying stories both from patients and from frontline medical staff. Changes already introduced are impacting on the services being offered to patients and the time people are waiting.

In my recent survey of thousands of local people, over a third said they were waiting longer for a GP appointment. A third said the quality of care had got worse and almost half said they were waiting longer for hospital referrals or test results.

We need to act now to protect our NHS for local people. I’d urge anyone who is concerned to back our campaign. You can add your support by emailing me ed@edballs.com.

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Posted October 25th, 2013 by Ed