Andy Burnham hits out at NHS GP surgeries facing axe in deprived areas
PUBLISHED: 09:50 14 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:50 14 May 2014
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Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham visited London’s deprived East End in a campaign to stop GP surgeries closing.
He turned up with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall at Stepney’s Jubilee Surgery in Commercial Road yesterday, joining Labour’s candidate for Tower Hamlets Mayor, John Biggs, and Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick, on his whistle-stop tour.
NHS campaigners are fighting the closure of 98 surgeries in deprived areas across the country.
There are five under threat in the East End alone, due to government cuts, they point out.
“It’s unbelievable that GPs find themselves in this position,” said the Shadow Health Secretary. “It will be calamitous if this is not resolved quickly.
“These are vital services—to throw their future in doubt is unforgivable.”
He is to raise the concerns with the Secretary of State “as a matter of urgency”.
Mr Burham added: “It’s wrong for the staff, wrong for the doctors and wrong for the patients who need support.
“They cannot have an axe hovering over them when they’re trying to provide health care to the people who need it.”
Labour also launched an AdVan promoting their NHS pledge which toured London the rest of the day.
His visit to Stepney was a boost for the campaign to save the five East End surgeries facing closure.
Government changes to GP funding means NHS money earmarked to “soften the impact of poverty” has been diverted to plug funding gaps elsewhere, Labour claims.
It means 98 surgeries in deprived areas have had their funds cut and may have to close. Five surgeries—including Jubilee Street practice—are in Tower Hamlets, a deprived area with the largest population increase of any local authority in England and Wales between 2001 and 2011, according to the National Census.
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