Government to fast-track local health cuts
South Cumbria is one of six areas across the country where the government has chosen to fast-track plans for vast cuts. Last week a senior Conservative minister refused to rule out cuts to local health services.
The government's plans for local health services will see £572million cut from vital local services by 2021. These cuts come under the 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan' (STP) for South Cumbria and Lancashire. However, the British Medical Association has warned that STPs are being "used as a cover for delivering cuts, starving services of resource and patients of vital care".
South Cumbria and Lancashire is one of just six STP areas across the country that has been chosen to be fast-tracked.
During a recent visit to Kendal, Tim challenged government Minister Sajid Javid MP to give a cast-iron guarantee that local services would not be cut. Javid notably refused to do this, raising concerns that the STP plans will see vital services cut.
Tim said: "The government has chosen our area to be a guinea pig in its dangerous experiment in slashing funding for vital services. The government is trying to cut a colossal sum at breakneck speed.
"The future of our local hospital and of vital local health services hangs in the balance because of this government's decisions. This amount of money would fund one and a half hospitals, and would certainly lead to the closure of vital local services such as A&E, maternity, and surgical units. It is extremely worrying that a senior Conservative minister has refused to rule out cuts to local health services.
"Our health service is under massive pressure and urgently needs more funds. The government must drop its disastrous plans to fast-track health cuts in our area."
Tim with local health campaigners at Westmorland General Hospital when the Kentmere mental health ward was threatened with closure. Tim successfully campaigned for it to remain open, and has vowed to fight against any future plans to remove services that might be proposed.