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NHS review must not make cuts. We need change and sustainable funding.

The Labour leader of Milton Keynes Council has issued a statement about the funding for NHS services needed by the people of MK as government cuts and strategy impact on health provision:

Major reform of the NHS has been featured heavily in national media and press this week, reporting on possible cuts and closures to NHS facilities across the country. People in MK have told me they are concerned about the future of MK Hospital and their local NHS services.

I want to make clear what position I will be taking as Leader of Milton Keynes Council and Chair of the MK Health and Wellbeing Board.

  • We will fight to ensure that the Government and NHS England properly fund our local NHS services to reflect the growth of Milton Keynes.
  • We would fight any proposals to remove A&E or Maternity services from MK Hospital and that any plans for the hospital take into account the future growth of the City.
  • We want properly integrated and funded health, social and community services. All have been under funded locally for many years.
  • We will be making the strongest possible case that with a growing population we need better access to GP Services to reduce unnecessary trips to hospital. We have already made the case to devolve the planning of GP services locally.
  • We want more funding for preventive services to reduce demand on our hospital.

 

The importance of Working Together.

Recently the NHS has asked every local area to produce a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) on how NHS resources in their area will be spent in the future. There are 44 areas in England, and the one that includes Milton Keynes will also include Bedfordshire and Luton.

Many people in MK will already be aware of the STP as it has recently replaced the “Better Together,” hospital review that had been taking place looking at the future of Milton Keynes Hospital and Bedford Hospital.

NHS services and funds in Milton Keynes are the responsibility of the local MK Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and for the past few years Milton Keynes Council has built a very strong relationship with the CCG, through our improving Health and Wellbeing Board, where together with other partners, we make joint decisions on how some of that NHS funding can be spent.

 

Prevention is crucial.

The Labour administration of Milton Keynes Council has a clear agenda to invest in preventative services to reduce demand on the NHS, and in particular, keep people out of hospital. We believe in properly integrated NHS, Social Services and Community Services that work together, have better health outcomes and save money. We believe the best way to save the NHS is to keep people living well.

We have been making very good progress recently with our local CCG in working together investing in preventative services, such as the recently launched Falls Service that aims to prevent trips and falls in the home, funded jointly between the NHS and MK Council.

Unfortunately, despite this good work taking place locally, the STP has been imposed on Milton Keynes by NHS England. The main aim seems to be saving money and making cuts to fix a financial black hole in the NHS caused by national underfunding from the Conservative Government. It was done with little reference or regard for the work already taking place by the Health and Wellbeing Board or the good work being done by local NHS staff.

It smacked of panic at the looming financial meltdown of the NHS amid chronic underfunding of our hospitals and GP services.

Despite that MK Health and Wellbeing Board have chosen to engage fully with the process and I am positive that the strong working relationship MK Council has built with our CCG means we are in a good position to ensure a strong Milton Keynes voice and influence over the process.

 

Change is needed, not cuts.

I am very concerned that the STP does not simply become a debate about the future of the hospital, but needs to ensure investment in preventive services, better social services and local GP services to reduce the demand on the hospital.

It is vital that the review focusses on improving the NHS and funds the changes that are needed rather than simply make short term cuts.

I am dismayed that despite the clear evidence that prevention works, the squeeze on NHS budgets by the Conservative government has put the NHS in crisis and the funds to ensure a properly functioning NHS are simply not there.

In the current financial climate, I believe it is nearly impossible to make the changes the Government and NHS England want to see without the NHS simply having to make cuts. The changes that are needed require proper thought and proper funding.

We will be discussing the STP at the next Health and Wellbeing Board in September and we will ensure that all plans put forward in the coming months by the NHS are subject to proper scrutiny and debate.

I am determined to fight to save the NHS in Milton Keynes and to secure sustainable funding.

 

Cllr Peter Marland

Leader, MK Council & Chair, MK Health and Wellbeing Board

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Statement from Councillor Pete Marland on the Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan

NHS review must not make cuts. We need change and sustainable funding. The Labour leader of Milton Keynes Council has issued a statement about the funding for NHS services needed...

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Labour-led Milton Keynes Council was rated first among a group of similar sized authorities, known as statistical neighbours, and fourth out of the 19 authorities in the South East Region regarding an initiative supporting the city's two year-olds.

In our area a total 1,061 eligible two year olds took up their free place in a nursery, preschool or with a childminder, meaning at 77%, the borough is performing above the national average of 70%. 

The council launched its Time for Twos campaign to raise awareness of the government’s initiative to increase the number of disadvantaged two year olds taking up high quality free early education and childcare. The campaign includes ‘Tim’, a giant walking, talking clock (pictured above). 

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Labour Cabinet member for Children and Families, visited the Hummingbird Children’s Centre in Broughton after figures released by the Department for Education revealed Milton Keynes Council is at the top of the list showing how successful local authorities have been in placing eligible two year olds into early education and childcare. 

Councillor Nolan said: “This is great news for Milton Keynes, particularly for our young families. It is so important that children get the best start in life and are prepared for school. Our Time for Twos campaign has been very successful and I am delighted that the hard work has been recognised in these latest figures.” 

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Cllr Zoe Nolan

Cllr Nolan concluded, “Whilst I am delighted with the success of our approach. I am concerned that the Council faces £24 million pounds of Government cuts between now and 2020. I pledge to protect this service. It is so important for our children. They are the future of MK. They need the best start in life” 

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Labour supports Two Year-Olds in the Face of Government Cuts

Labour-led Milton Keynes Council was rated first among a group of similar sized authorities, known as statistical neighbours, and fourth out of the 19 authorities in the South East Region...

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Sixty-three roads have been identified in the first phase of footpath improvements in long neglected Bletchley.

Local councillor Mick Legg said, “I welcome this move which comes after a long period when Bletchley was a low priority for a city council. This is about a fair deal for Bletchley after years of neglect.”

Cllr Legg, who lives on the Castles estate in West Bletchley is keen to ensure that the quality of the new footpaths is high. He believes it good practice to check on the work of contractors.

He added, “I am undertaking a quality survey of all the roads and closes where work has been undertaken in August. I am starting with the Rivers estate that covers paces like Wye Close and Ouzel Close. I want to hear from residents to ensure a good job has been done.”

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Cllr Legg believes that the reason for the work is the priority that Labour led Milton Keynes Council to ensuring all parts of Milton Keynes gets a fair deal based on sorting out the worst footpaths first.

Cllr Legg concluded, “As a Labour led Council we want to see a fair deal for all areas. We are starting with Bletchley because the footpaths have been neglected for too long and are in a poor way. I was delighted to put in place the funding for these footpaths last year in my Cabinet role. I want to ensure that the work is of a high standard. So my rolling survey will ensure residents can tell us if the job is well done.”   

Footpath quality survey

Sixty-three roads have been identified in the first phase of footpath improvements in long neglected Bletchley.

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