They say the NHS is running out of money. Why? Because they give some of it to councils to spend and then councils, in these cash strapped times, spend it on other things, like filling potholes. Don’t believe me?
This year Calderdale Council has been given £4 million from the NHS (via something called the Better Care Fund) with the intention that this money be spent on helping older people be looked after in their own homes rather than hospital.
You would think, therefore, that the overall spending of the department responsible for this care has increased by £4 million, so that this benefit to our older population would be realised. Simply not the case.
The budget for this department is going down! £4 million disappeared. I’ll give you another example.
Last year the NHS transferred responsibility for Public Health (that’s sexually transmitted disease clinics, healthy eating campaigns,anti smoking propaganda etc) to councils.
Calderdale, in planning for this change, expected to receive about £5 million from the NHS to provide this service. They actually received £8.5 million!
Did they send the extra £3.5 million back? You must be kidding. They just found things they were already spending money on to call “Public Health”.
Don’t believe me? Road safety (all those 20mph signs) is now a “Public Health” issue. Cycling paths - “Public Health”. Need a walk-in shower, stairlift or grab rails to get you home more quickly from hospital, you guessed it - “Public Health”. All these “new” Public Health issues were previously funded out of the same departmental budget.
So, obviously this budget is now going down. You must be kidding. It’s going up by over a £1 million! £3.5 million disappeared.
Just in Calderdale, £7.5 million of NHS money not being spent where it was intended for the benefit of the people of the borough.
That’s why the NHS has no money and wants to close A+E. I did try to raise these issues at Budget Council, but the main parties are more interested in parking charges which are easier to understand and might be worth a few votes. Sad really.
More doing, less counting
One of my constituents reported to me that there is no warning sign for HGVs on Spout House Lane to inform drivers of the railway bridge at St Giles Road. Consequently.in these days of sat nav HGVs are travelling all the way from Hove Edge only to discover they cannot get through. They then have to back up all the way! I reported this on behalf of my constituent to our Highway team. They replied asking me to fill out a form to say that I had reported it and what the problem was. I’d already done that! This form would then be put into a list of priorities and decided on when all the other items on the list had been prioritised. I get a monthly report on how many items have been reported and how long the list is.
What I really want is a little less counting and a little more doing!
lLast week, George Osbourne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that he thought Leeds and Manchester should be connected by a High Speed rail link to create a “powerhouse of the North”. This rail line is not even electrified yet! It wasn’t even on the recently published list of lines to be electrified in the next 10 years.
Is there a general election soon?
By Councillor Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe )