Devon MPs: powerless to stop cuts try to talk their way out of trouble

“The Royal Devon and Exeter hospital is facing a £20million deficit, city MP Ben Bradshaw warned a debate on health and social care in Parliament.

Meg Hillier, Labour chair of the Public Accounts Committee, called the debate, which was dominated by Devon MPs.

Ms Hillier warned: “We are in the grip of a crisis in social care.”

Mr Bradshaw said the clinical commissioning group which provides health services in North, East and West Devon is facing a £40 million deficit.

And the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital – “one of the best run hospitals in the country” – is facing a £20 million deficit.

Mr Bradshaw urged the government to “end the uncertainty” over EU nationals working in the health and social care system.

“We face a workforce crisis exacerbated by uncertainty over Brexit.

“People are already leaving and they are not able to recruit. The workforce crisis is going to do more damage in the short term than anything else.”

Mr Bradshaw added: “We need to have an honest conversation with the British pubic about how we fund this.”

He called on Health Minister Philip Dunne to say whether the government had ruled out a “posthumous levy” on people’s estates.

Devon MPs urged the government to ensure fairer funding for rural areas.

Councils have been given the right to raise an extra 3% from April to pay soaring adult social care costs.

In his Budget last week the Chancellor allocated an extra £2 billion for social care.

Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and chair of the Commons Health select committee, said: “While £2 billion over three years is welcome, I would like the minister to address how this gets to the front line and is distributed according to need.”

She warned that £1.2 billion had been transferred from capital to revenue budgets, hampering the ability to put in place effective plans.

The Chancellor also announced that GPs would be “co-located” in A&E departments.

Dr Wollaston said that GP practices would struggle to provide that service while they also have to offer out-of-hours and Sunday services, and alongside a “retirement bulge”.

She said spending had been squeezed just as Britain was experiencing an “extraordinary demographic change”, and called on the government to stop and take stock.

Most of the MPs joined Dr Wollaston in calling on the government to widen its proposed green paper review of adult social care to include the NHS.

Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP for Newton Abbot, said: “The NHS is the envy of the world. The social care system, frankly, is not.

She said social care took £14.4 billion – a third of local authority spending. “Those of us in rural areas are clearly having to pay more because we pay more council tax overall,” she said. “We have a disproportionate number of over-85s, we have rural sparsity not properly dealt with.”

“The government must face up to the problem, but the public must also play its part. We must accept change.”

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones said the number of Devon MPs speaking in the debate reflected concern that rural areas of the South West are not getting their fair share of funding.

He said the NHS “sustainability and transformation plan” reforms were causing concern in North Devon, particularly about the future of some acute services at the district hospital.

Any cuts at the hospital would be “absolutely unacceptable” because of the “three Ds” – distance, demographics and deprivation.

Kevin Foster, the Torbay MP, said the problems had been caused by the success of the NHS, which meant that people were living longer.”

3 thoughts on “Devon MPs: powerless to stop cuts try to talk their way out of trouble

  1. Did I read that right…. did Torbay MP Kevin Foster actually say its our fault for living longer? If only the NHS had failed before, more of us would be dead and the need for social care would be less. OK….there may be some logic there, but sick logic. Also people use most care in the last year of life (I think) so it does not matter how long you live. These are spurious arguments to use. We all know its about privatisation. Choices have been made about funding social care and the organisation with the NHS – not choices we were asked about, but political choices. We’re being pushed into accepting that ‘things have to change’ without being able to ask why and how exactly? And why we’re in this mess in the first place.


  2. “Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP for Newton Abbot, said: “The NHS is the envy of the world. The social care system, frankly, is not.”

    Well the NHS is already not as good as the Portuguese health care system – and IF it is the envy of the world now (which I doubt) it certainly won’t be in a year or two.

    And I will bet you anything you like that Ann Marie Morris voted FOR the Health & Social Care Act 2012 – so (like Swine and Pariah) it is hypocritical for her to bemoan the consequences now.


  3. Kevin Foster (Con) obviously has the answer: make the NHS fail, then folk will die sooner and the NHS will once again become a success!


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