National and Devolved Politics

06.07.18

Major West Midlands council plans £1.6m in health service cuts

Cuts of up to £1.6m will be made over the next two financial years by Shropshire Council in an effort to meet savings targets.

Approved by the Conservative-led council at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the plan was labelled as an “attack on health care services” by Opposition councillors.

Savings proposals included a review of adult and children’s social care joint commissioning with the CCG, and a commissioned outcomes review into public health, which would bring savings of £558,000 this year and over £1m in 2019-20.

The approved plans will now go to a full council vote at a later date.

Independent councillor Madge Shineton asked for those in favour to “take a step back” and look at the wider implications of cuts to integral services on the wider population’s health.

“My concern is the amount that is syphoned off of public health. I see public health as a foundation stone of what we’re trying to achieve across the whole of the health budget at the moment,” said Cllr Shineton.

“Public health is a piece of the jigsaw right at the bottom, and if we start to jiggle about with that too much the whole of the plan is going to wobble and I do not think we should do that.

“I understand the financial situation, however it’s not much good knocking the foundation bricks out because there are unintended consequences.”

Shineton noted that the unintended consequences of cutting social care could be “very serious” for the wider Shropshire population. She commented: “When you look at the proposals alongside children’s services and adult services—if we don’t have some funding to integrate then it won’t happen.”

Labour councillor Alan Mosley added: “This paper is a disaster area as Madge is alluding to, particularly when we look at it in relation to the performance review just considered. It’s an attack on our health and care services, it slashes public health by £1.6m and similarly the same for annual care.

“It flies in the face of all that we try to encourage, which is integrated of the health service and seamless delivery and also various authorities working together for the betterment of the population as a whole.”

He called on council leader Peter Nutting to review the spending plan. Nutting said the plan is getting the council towards a healthy population.

Shropshire Council has been approached for comment.

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