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Tower Hamlets health chair barred—from town hall health meeting

PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 June 2012

A councillor campaigning for improved cancer treatment for East End patients has accused Tower Hamlets' executive mayor of secrecy after being barred from a health meeting at the Town Hall.

Cll Rachael Saunders, who chairs the authority’s health scrutiny panel, turned up for last night’s Health & Wellbeing board—but was told Mayor Lutfur Rahman didn’t want her there.

“They were discussing waiting times for cancer patients,” Cllr Saunders told the Advertiser. “I wanted to ask questions about why targets are not being met.

“We’ve been campaigning for transparency, but the Mayor is going behind closed doors.”

Cllr Saunders, meanwhile, is lodging a formal complaint against the Mayor.

But the Town Hall claimed the board was not a formal council committee, so it was not a public meeting.

A Town Hall statement said: “The chair of the board was surprised that she sought to attend—unfortunately, her presence was not needed.”

Cllr Saunders wanted to raise the issue of cancer patients waiting longer for treatment. Latest figures showed only 62 per cent were now getting treatment within six weeks, instead of the 90 per cent target.

Meanwhile, proposals are currently under discussion by the Wellbeing ‘shadow’ board, which becomes a statutory partnership body between the council and local NHS next year, to meet in public.

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