GLA rep says local NHS in 'massive crisis'
'Not so' argues Head of Hounslow's PCT
Local Member of the London Assembly Tony Arbour (pictured right) is claiming that a report on the local health trust reveals the 'shocking truth' about the state of their finances.
Recently released board papers from the Hounslow PCT shows £2.7 million of unidentified savings for which there are no plans or ideas in a budget crisis in total of £5.4 million.
Mr. Arbour said, “Hounslow PCT and The Borough’s NHS is in serious financial trouble. This will mean even fewer GP’s & dentists, fewer operations and fewer treatments for Hounslow’s residents.” He called for the PCT 'to admit the truth'.
Hounslow PCT Chief Executive John James responded to these claims by stating “We are surprised that Tony Arbour has asked us to ‘admit the truth to local people’ as we have made it our business to be 100% honest with patients since the PCT was created two years ago. We said then that our inherited deficit presented major challenges and so it has proved."
He went on to state that “Tony Arbour’s analysis of our situation shows that he doesn’t have a clear understanding of the facts. The numbers of GPs and dentists is not going to fall due to our financial deficit. As we’ve made clear many times, services and jobs are not being cut: the focus is on using resources more wisely so that we balance our budgets.
“I have written to Tony Arbour again, asking him to meet with us so that he can be better appraised of the facts. We don’t deny that our financial position continues to present serious challenges and we will continue to make this clear to local people and to the North West Strategic Health Authority. But his misunderstanding of the situation helps no-one and serves only to cause needless alarm to patients.”
However, Arbour maintains that “It is time the PCT Board and the borough’s Labour Council and Labour MP’s admitted the truth to local people and that they have no way of sorting this out and own up to the Secretary of State for Health, that we have a massive crisis in West London, which, to prevent even more suffering for Hounslow, He must be put right.”
Peter Eversden of the London Forum of Amenity & Civic Societies has predicted that real problems with healthcare will emerge with the massive growth in housing that is forecast in the London Plan. Residents' groups in Brentford are warning that amenities, services, open space, school places, doctors and dentists are in short supply as the town expands and such social provision is not keeping pace with the development.
December 10, 2004