Lambeth’s Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs has offered to try and arrange a meeting between her and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
He was responding to a question from Cllr Jacqui Dyer at Wednesday’s council meeting. Cllr Dyer had asked Cllr Briggs: “Will the Conservative Group leader take this opportunity to disown the dreadful smear campaign launched by his government against Lord Kerslake and join me in calling for an urgent meeting between Lambeth and the Secretary of State for Health to discuss the future funding of our local NHS?”
Responding, Cllr Briggs said he had great respect for the work done by Cllr Dyer, and he would be happy to try to help her get a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health.
“I do not know anything about a smear campaign, but I understand that NHS Improvement, the independent regulator for King’s College hospital, Dulwich has said there was a ‘very serious’ deterioration in King’s College hospital’s ‘unacceptable finances’, and as a result the hospital has been placed into special measures.
“Whilst need is obviously great in our part of London, Labour peer Lord Kerslake being responsible for running the worst deficit in the entire national health service suggests gross incompetence which will impact most of all on vulnerable patients, just as all poor management in Lambeth impacts on those who are on the receiving end of poor services.
“It is not just incompetent but immoral to allow money to be spent unsustainably that can be used for life-saving treatments elsewhere.
“Whilst Conservative councillors would like more money for the NHS, I note that given the huge extra funding for the NHS (real terms funding this year will be £12.5 billion higher than 2010- 11), the director of acute care at NHS England and the Head of NHS Providers have both suggested that the NHS is better prepared than ever before for winter pressures.
“Of course this funding will never be enough for some Labour councillors who think money should be borrowed indefinitely to fund the NHS, which our children would then need to pay off.
“I have great respect for the work done by Cllr Dyer, and I would be happy to try to help her get a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health.
“But when it comes to health funding, Lambeth and Southwark have been an echo-chamber for many years, with the same sorts of well-intentioned people repeating the same mantras to one another about not enough Government funding and blaming others for their failures, and the state of King’s finances is clear evidence that, at the end of the day, all of those involved in making decisions on spending simply have not applied themselves effectively.”