The Labour party’s annual conference is in Manchester this year. The biggest concern being discussed at the Conference will be the cuts planned by the Conservative Liberal Democrat Government and the effect these cuts will have on local people, especially those who are vulnerable.
I am concerned that the cuts should not affect social care. The Government is forcing cuts of 25% on local services. Cuts of this level cannot be forced on care services because it would hit services for people who are frail and vulnerable too hard and put lives at risk.
Salford has a track record of providing good social care for adults, with staff working across health and social care to improve services. People who are old and frail or people with ill health or disabilities need these services to work together. However this work will be affected by the Government’s NHS re-organisation, which will abolish Salford’s Primary Care Trust and push the work of commissioning services onto local GPs.
The Royal College of GPs has told the Government they have major concerns about these reforms and asked for them to be put back. Many medical charities are saying that GPs don’t have the time or the experience in specialist conditions to take on the commissioning work. GPs who are opposed to the Government’s reforms feel the extra work involved will pull them away from working with patients. Some GPs have also said they are worried about the break-up of the NHS, as the reforms open the door to private providers.
A further blow came when the Department of Health sacked 100 regional health experts. They worked across the country on plans to reduce teenage pregnancies, help people give up smoking or reduce drinking and on reducing obesity. Cutting these expert jobs will make these problems harder to tackle and put more of the health problems from obesity and alcohol abuse back onto the NHS.
Labour’s conference will send a strong message to the Government that care must be protected from cuts and that they should stop their unnecessary and damaging reorganisation of the NHS.