Labour demands health bosses hold meetings over possible cuts

Cllr John McGhee
Cllr John McGhee

Northamptonshire’s Labour Party says health bosses in the county have gone back on their pledge to hold public meetings over plans which could see a reduction in funding for services.

Campaigners from a group set up to protest against proposals, revealed in the Northants Telegraph, to cut funding for hospices including Cransley Hospice in Kettering, say they are concerned about being left in the dark.

Cllr John McGhee, leader of the Labour opposition on Northamptonshire County Council, has accused the NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) of breaking its promise to campaigners to hold public meetings to discuss the spending cuts that would be required at the start of September.

And Labour says correspondence from the group has also gone unanswered.

Cllr McGhee said: “The way the CCG has acted is extremely disappointing, and I’m very concerned about what measures are going to be taken as they try to balance the books.

“The funding deficit was described by the CCG finance director as ‘educated guesswork’ at our last meeting, and yet the black hole has grown by a further £5m since then. I want to have the confidence to tell members of the public that the group has a handle on this situation and that I have confidence in their ability to deal with the funding deficit, but until these further meetings take place and additional details have been given, I simply can’t do that.”

Richard Garvie, a campaigner and the Labour candidate in last month’s Desborough town council by-election, added: “The CCG made a very clear commitment to having public meetings in the county about the proposed spending cuts, and yet it appears the CCG is now going back on that pledge.

“The problem we now face is that all elective surgery such as hip replacements and cataract surgeries could be axed, departments could have funding slashed and the public will be none the wiser. The CCG has already ruled out consulting on these cuts, and that is why we need the full details of the spending cuts that will be implemented to be published.”