Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South and Shadow Health Minister, revealed the £230 million hole in NHS Services in North Central London in front of 200 people at a “Save our NHS” public meeting in Islington Town Hall.
North Central London NHS needs to cut £730m by 2014/15 – but they have not been able to find £230m of the savings they need to cover this gap.
£26m has already been earmarked to be lopped off “unscheduled care plans” by 2015, but there is a real danger that more will have to be cut to cover the budget shortfall.
Emily wrote to Ms Khan seeking confirmation that “unscheduled care” means A&E and ambulance services and, if so, whether NHS NCL was considering “restructuring and/or reducing A&E and ambulance services”.
She also asked: “Will A&E departments like the Whittington maintain the same opening hours, levels of staff and quality of care in 2014-15?”
Ms Khan confirmed that “our definition of unscheduled care includes all services where a patient needs to access a health professional urgently and therefore does include A&E and ambulance services.”
And Ms Khan could not rule out further cuts and restructuring to A & E and ambulance services.
Emily Thornberry said the confusion revealed “the chaos” at the heart of the NHS caused by the government’s health policies. “Of course, the North Central London NHS can say they have no plans to cut A & E services, because no one has any plans. No one knows what they are doing,” she said.