"From my perspective, I share the view expressed in the editorial in last week’s Cornish Guardian, that a political consensus is needed to safeguard the NHS and to properly fund social care."
The future of the National Health Service and the crisis in social care
continues to dominate both British and Cornish politics – and rightly
Theresa May has come in for considerable criticism for some ill-advised
comments, in which she attempted to downplay problems in the NHS.
Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, has slammed the Prime Minister for
claiming that the health service “had been given more money than it
asked for,” while many others condemned the UK Government for failing to
live up to its pre-election pledge to “give the NHS what it needs.”
Anyone in Cornwall following the debate around the local NHS
Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) can see the hollowness of
the PM’s claims, with the pressure to cut £264 million from the Cornish
In addition, Mr Stevens also hit out at another statement from Mrs May
that suggested elements of the present crisis had been “caused by the
poor management of hospitals.”
Significantly, Dr Sarah Woolaston, who chairs the Health Select
Committee, declined to support her own government for its attempts to
blame GPs for pressures on accident & emergency departments, adding
that it was unacceptable to scapegoat family doctors.
Conservative-run Surrey County Council has meanwhile announced plans to
increase council tax by 15% to specifically fund social care – which
will be presented to local voters in a referendum.
The council leader has laid the blame for the proposed tax hike at the
door of central government cuts. He told the media that: “Government has
cut our annual grant by £170m since 2010 – leaving a huge gap in our
budget. Demand for adult social care, learning disabilities and
children’s services is increasing every year. So … we have no choice but
to propose this increase in council tax."
All in all, it was a move which was embarrassing for the UK Government
and particularly uncomfortable for a number of prominent Tories who
represent Surrey constituencies, including the Chancellor of the
Exchequer Philip Hammond and the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
I was disappointed that opposition groups in Surrey did not use the
opportunity to join the Conservative councillors in putting pressure on
central government on this issue, but preferred to seek some local
political advantage from impact of such a “huge” proposed council tax
From my perspective, I share the view expressed in the editorial in last week’s Cornish Guardian, that a political consensus is needed to safeguard the NHS and to properly fund social care.
All political parties need to rise above their own short-term
self-interest and come together to do what is in the best interests of