Labour’s candidate for West Midlands Mayor, Siôn Simon, will this week announce his intention to secure regional coordination of health and social care to undo the damaging fragmentation of health services caused by David Cameron's government.
The Health and Social Care Act, introduced by Cameron's government and retained by the current Tory government, abolished regional oversight of health services. The result has been poorer coordination of care for patients and millions of pounds of waste at a time when the NHS is facing a funding crisis.
Mr Simon will argue that the creation of the Mayor and his intent for greater powers to be devolved to the West Midlands on health and social care, will mean that we can 'take back control of our health and social care services, putting an end to the chaos caused by David Cameron's failed plan'.
In the first in a series of announcements in a week in which Mr Simon will focus his campaign on health and social care, he will pledge to create a Mayor's Commission on Health and Social Care to ensure health and social care services across the West Midlands are properly coordinated. The Mayor's Commission will, during the early stages of a Labour administration, identify the immediate changes that can be introduced to improve services and reduce waste.
Speaking ahead of the Chancellor's Budget on Wednesday, Mr Simon will argue that the government in London is failing to protect universal health and social care services. The combination of historical underfunding for the West Midlands combined with the eye-watering NHS budget deficits across Coventry, the Black Country and Birmingham and Solihull means universal health and social care is now at risk.
Mr Simon said:
“We know that the Tory government in London is refusing to provide the care funding that we need – both for health and social care. This means longer waiting times, shortages of health care professionals and huge strains on our NHS staff.
“But if we’re to do something to defend our NHS from neglect by the Tory government in London – we need to take control of it. Let's take back control of our NHS from the chaos caused by David Cameron's failed plan.
“But first and foremost – this week, the government has the chance to do something about the crisis facing the NHS by plugging the funding gaps that are hitting patients in the West Midlands hardest."
Mr Simon is consulting health and social care leaders and staff about his plan for a new Mayor's Commission on Health and Social Care.