The Mayor of London has failed to answer questions about his record on tackling health inequalities in North West London. Local London Assembly Member, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, used January’s Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall to question Boris Johnson on a recent report which called for “deeply flawed” changes to NHS West London health services to be “halted immediately”. In his response the Mayor of London dismissed the findings from the Independent Healthcare Commission’s report, after admitting that he had not read the report in full. Dr Sahota said the Mayor’s unwillingness to answer questions “completely fails communities” who are concerned about the future of their local NHS.
Health Services in North West London have undergone a number of changes since the launch of the government’s Shaping a Health Future plan in 2013. The government’s reshape saw the closure of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals and the maternity unit at Ealing. Paediatric services at Ealing are also expected to close this June. However, a new report from the Independent Healthcare Commission, led by Michael Mansfield QC, has found the changes “deeply flawed”, calling for them to be “halted immediately”.
In an exchange with the Mayor, Dr Sahota raised concerns that the Mayor was not fulfilling his responsibility to ensure that people living in North West London have equal access to healthcare in light of the reconfiguration of local services. However, when questioned about the Commission’s advice to immediately stop the government’s reforms the Mayor responded by dismissing the report.
The Mayor of London is responsible for looking at ways to improve the health of Londoners and reduce health inequalities across the capital, despite not being responsible for NHS services.
Local London Assembly Member, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, said:
“Not only has Boris Johnson not responded to the Commission’s report, it seems he’s barely skimmed it. Local people will rightly expect him to put the interests of their health first, but he can’t do that if he doesn’t know what they’re up against. It’s hard to have any real faith that he understands the impact of the government’s changes on local people.
“The fact that he’s unable to set out his record on improving equal access to health care for people living in North West London completely fails communities who are rightly worried about the future of their NHS services.”