A survey conducted for the Independent newspaper (2/6/11) finds that care services for the elderly and disabled people are likely to be reduced during 2011/12 as authorities implement cuts averaging 6% to social care budgets to save a total of one billion. Councils planning service cuts include Bradford, which will close a centre for disabled people and increase meals on wheels charges, Stoke-on-Trent where two residential homes will close, and Liverpool which is altering qualification criteria and proposing to close nine day care centres. In Brent, we are doing our best to safeguard such essential services.
I have been in regular contact with aggrieved Willesden and Dudden Hill patients registered with the Burnley GP Practice as we had heard that there were plans to close this surgery and to distribute patients to other practices – few of which are within easy access for older or mobility impaired residents. Residents did not know why the practice was threatened, especially as a “post code” lottery existed, with the Willesden area (NW2, NW10) having fewer GP’s per 100,000 population than other areas of the borough. Following complaints to the Primary Care Trust by myself and other councillors, meetings were held so patients could express their concerns. Thanks to the campaign, the Burnley Practice is not under threat and efforts are being made to secure its position and larger accommodation in or near the Willesden Centre for Health and Care.