Labour say Lutfur Rahman failing to deliver on local health services
Millions of pounds of Public Health Grant will be lost by Tower Hamlets Council unless independent Mayor Lutfur Rahman takes immediate action to meet basic criteria set by Government.
The grant of £5.2m a year is part of a two-year programme designed to help councils tackle local health issues through treatment, prevention and lifestyle change. The grant needs to be approved by the local Health and Wellbeing Board which was due to be in place by April this year. For reasons best known to himself the independent Mayor has refused to formally establish the Board in Tower Hamlets.
Whilst a Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board is in operation there are real questions as to whether or not Government will allow the funding to go through without meeting the conditions which were put in place.
Labour has been warning for over half a year that the Mayor’s stubborn refusal to set up this important body is preventing health services from working together effectively to improve services. Back in August the Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam, wrote to the Mayor urging him to urgent take action but has received no response. The bizarre failure to act follows the equally odd spectacle at an early meeting of the Shadow board when the Mayor barred the Council’s health scrutiny chair from attending meetings.
The revelation that Tower Hamlets may miss out on this vital health funding comes just months after it was revealed that the local Barts Hospital Trust was facing financial difficulties having missed its cost cutting targets.
Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Rachael Saunders, said:
“Everyone knows that we can’t trust the Tories with the NHS but sadly now we can add Lutfur Rahman to that list. We raised this issue with the Mayor months ago but he has completely refused to act.
“£10m could make a massive difference to combating the appalling health inequalities faced by people living in the East End. This public health funding could be used to tackle obesity, drug dependence, diabetes or the many other conditions that blight people’s lives in Tower Hamlets. Lutfur Rahman’s refusal to play by the rules is costing eastenders dearly”.