South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservative group have rejected a motion by the opposition Liberal Democrats, calling for an end to planned severe cuts to the local NHS.
Lib Dem Deputy Leader, Cllr Claire Young (Westerleigh), said: “We asked the Council to call on the Government to halt the so-called “Capped Expenditure Process,” which will see our local NHS singled out for extra NHS cuts along with 13 other areas of the country from next year. Instead, the Conservatives introduced a watered-down motion, which stops short of calling for an end to these planned cuts.
“The Conservatives say that the NHS should tighten its belt and live within its means – but the Health Service has reached a point where it can’t tighten its belt much further without vital services being lost, and it’s patients who will suffer as a result.”
Lib Dem Councillor Linda Boon (Chipping Sodbury) described to the Council her recent experience of cutbacks in the NHS. After waiting months for a cataract operation, she was told that she was no longer eligible, because NHS policy had changed – meaning she will now have to wait until she is almost blind in the affected eye before she will be able to have the surgery.
Claire concluded: “We are hearing of more and more cases like Linda’s. It is not fair of the Conservatives to pass the buck to local NHS managers to make these sorts of cuts. The decision not to invest more in the local NHS is, ultimately, a political choice and it’s Conservative MPs who must be held responsible for that. The Lib Dems believe that income tax should be raised by a penny on the pound to ensure that the NHS has the extra funding it so desperately needs.”