World Health Day: Celebrating the NHS

This Saturday is 2018 World Health Day which is all about Universal Health Coverage.

Half of the world’s people still struggle to get basic medical help, choosing between, food, shelter and life saving drugs. But in the UK we are incredibly lucky to have our NHS.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for an extra £6 billion a year to protect the NHS, paid for by an extra penny on Income Tax.

The money raised will be guaranteed for the NHS and social care services, which is currently in crisis with delayed operations, full hospital beds and record numbers left waiting in A&

Our NHS is at breaking point. With the Conservatives planning even more cuts, our health service needs a necessary funding injection.

I don’t think politicians are being honest with people and saying we all need to contribute a little more, with the money going direct to the NHS. Our national health services are worth an extra 1p on income tax to ensure the safety of patients. This would solve the short-term funding crisis.

Sir David Nicholson, who led NHS England for almost a decade, is among a group of senior health professionals and experts to back an increase in personal tax to provide the struggling services with an extra £6bn a year.

We must give our doctors, nurses and other health workers the funding they need to continue providing a world-class health service.

Southwark Crappy Windows

Southwark Council has a Housing Asset Management Strategy that claims Page 11:

“We will maintain decency to the warm, dry and safe standard
WDS principles equates to the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. These principles are:
– Warm – modern functioning hearing, well insulated roof, windows in good condition or double glazed with secure locks, sliding windows vents and rusticator hinges where needed, draught excluders on front door, cavity wall insulation”
– Dry – roofs, windows and building fabric in good condition, free from water penetration and damp
– Safe – modern electrics including rewiring where necessary, secure front doors (fire rated where necessary)

The Government defines decent homes :

Dwellings are non-decent because they have windows that need replacing. Their
replacement would make the dwelling decent, but it may be more cost effective to
replace both windows and doors, the latter being likely to require replacement in
the next few years.
Windows – component lifetimes used in disrepair criterion – houses 40 years – 30 years for flats in blocks.
In poor condition
Windows – Replace at least one window or repair/replace sash or member to least two (excluding easing sashes, reglazing painting)

But Southwark still thinks crappy wooden framed single pane glass windows – that leak heat and often with gaps open to the elements meet those two standards. Unreal.

It has no programme to replace such windows. IT does seem to have mountains of putty to bodge council windows ad finitum…I call on Southwark Labour to do the right thing for many of our most vulnerable reisdents whose councils windows must be replaced.

Most Notorious East Dulwich Junction

Our most notorious road junction in East Dulwich is where East Dulwich Grove (EDG) meets Lordship Lane. It feels dangerous and you have be razor sharp crossing with confidence. Over the last 5 years 10 crashes have occurred.

Putting full traffic lights would significantly reduce the capacity of Lordship Lane there and result in lots more rat running. It would also see significant parking removed to make it happen – both along Lordship Lane and East Dulwich Grove – which is predicted to speed traffic up countering any safety.

On a site visit with council officials we noted the following potential improvements:

1. Tactile pavement indicated where to cross is set back along EDG away from the sightlines of cars turing from Lordsihp lane in EDG. Propose move this towards Lordship Lane.
2. Move the Bell Bollard so it actually protects pedestrians.
3. Why was the coloured raised treatment replaced with black tarmac. REnew in different colour to inidcate a pedestrian crossing.
4. Place anti skid surface to allow better braking.
5. Resurface Lordship Lane.
6. Place hatching on whole junction after resurfacing
It was agreed at the site meeting and post meeting review that drivers could be mentally or cogniticely overloaded with so many different visual ques. To reduce this we could:
1. Remove yellow hatching,
2. Mark the correct turning circle, as they do on some roundabouts, to reduce incidence of drivers cutting the corner.
Further thoughts:
1. What would it cost to raise the whole junction up to slow all vehicles?
2. Could we install average speed cameras around this junction to ensure no speeding?
What do you think – how can we make this junction safe?

Meals On Wheels Price Hike

Elderly face 260% meals on wheels price hike

Many elderly residents in Southwark are paying 260% more for their meals on wheels service this year after price hikes introduced by the Labour council.

In May 2010, Southwark Labour’s manifesto pledged to reduce the cost of meals on wheels by half to £1.71.  This target was reached in November 2013.

But service users have been notified by the Council that under its new ‘Fairer Contributions’ policy for adult social care the previous flat-rate charge has been abolished and replaced by a new rate based on people’s presumed ability to pay.

While some Southwark residents will pay nothing, others face increases of up to 260% with the cost of a meal spiralling to £6.24.  The new charges started in April.

Service users were required to complete a financial assessment and return it to the Council. The assessment considers the resident’s income, savings and outgoings and then calculates how much they have to contribute for their meals service.  Any user who did not respond by the deadline has to pay the full £6.24 cost as a default irrespective of income.

Labour made a clear promise to halve the cost to residents of its meals on wheels service.  Yet just two and a half years later some users are facing a 260% price increase.

The introduction of a free service for some while others struggle to find the money for this huge increase has created a two-tier system of care in Southwark.  It’s also a bit Big Brother that the Council is demanding to know all about older people’s savings and income.

The Council must monitor the impact of these massive price hikes and make sure people are not choosing to go without food because they can no longer afford meals on wheels.

It’s a complete betrayal of everything Labour promised older people just a few years ago.

Southwark Labour Selling School Land

Southwark Labour have started the legal process to sell Southwark school Land at three locations.:

  1. 5,172m2 of playing fields at Angel Oak Academy (formerly Gloucester School) SE15 6FL
  2. 2,452m2 of plying fields Beormund Primary School SE1 3PS
  3. 1,078m2 Cherry Road Gardens School SE16 3XU

That’s a lot of school playing fields. Once lost impossible in Southwark to recreate o replace. They say they and will be used for housing. Also much needed. But the one thing we can sure of with an ever increasing Southwark population and huge home building plans is we will need more schools and often have to increase the size of existing schools. This school land should not be sold robbing children into the future of sufficient land to play.

Labour Southwark have a record of doing this sort of thing. Hence why The Charter School is so deficient of playing fields. Albion school was robbed of space only last year August 2016.

If you object to these school land and playing field sales email ASAP.

EU Right To Remain

On Monday the Labour party had one of its biggest meltdowns yet. Voting for, then against the amendment to protect the rights of EU citizens who already live in the UK to stay here.

Nobody knows where Labour stand on Brexit, they’re trying desperately to play both sides. Unfortunately for them people in this country are wise to it and people cannot respect a party that will not stand up for what it believes in.

The Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has pointed out that Labour had the chance to block Theresa May’s hard Brexit, but chose to sit on their hands. As Nick Clegg has pointed out there will be families fearful that they are going to be torn apart with EU citizens living here being kicked out of the UK. Many already tell me they feel no longer welcome in Britain.

In Dulwich we have 10,917 EU residents or 10% of all resident. They are a critical party of our neighbourhoods.

Shame on the government for using people as chips in a casino, and shame on Labour for letting them. EU countries will no respect a government being so very callous. It has already hardened their attitudes towards us. My day job is negotiating. This is no way to win respect or concessions from an opposite party.

Locally the NHS relies on hundreds of EU nationals, both doctors and nurses, to sure up an already underfunded service. This is a huge problem for every person in our country, and we shouldn’t let hard working EU nationals and their families be treated as second class citizens. For example at King’s College Hospital we have 282 EU doctors, 450 EU nurses and 414 other crucial staff.

As Liberal Democrats we believe in an open, tolerant and united future for our country. We want EU citizens to stay, they’re part of our country and our community. We will do all we can to fight for their rights and make them feel welcome. If you agree join us.

MPs voted down the amendment on EU nationals rights by 335 to 287, a majority of 48, with peers later accepting the decision by 274 to 135. The second amendment on whether to hold a meaningful final vote on any deal after the conclusion of Brexit talks was voted down by 331 to 286, a majority of 45, in the Commons.

School Food Hygiene

All children should attend great schools. But they and their parents shouldn’t need to be concerned about basic food hygiene of school kitchens.

When I first raised the issue of poor school hygiene in Southwark in 2013 12 of our schools had only 3 star ratings. A year ago July 2015 it had broadly improved with the lowest ratings with 2 schools with 3 stars but 2 x 1 stars Major Improvement Necessary.

Currently no Southwark school has 3 stars and one has only 1 star. So big improvement needed.

1 star



But the Southwark website listing all Southwark school ratings was updated in June 2013.

But can we trust these ratings? of the 119 ratings 69 were inspected over 18 months ago – way past the recommended re inspection rate for schools. The oldest inspection recorded was 5 year 10 months ago!

Come on Southwark – do what’s right by the boroughs children and parents

Making Lordship Shops All Shops

20-22 Lordship Lane were originally shops with flats above them. For a very long time they’ve bene used as offices for one of Southwark’s Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT).

Since 2005 we’ve been asking what are the plans for these offices. Breaking up the line of shops with two non shops with blank frontages doesn’t help keep Lordship Lane vibrant.

I’ve now had a Freedom of Information response back. Previously I had Southwark Council officers saying they were awaiting Maudsley people to respond. I’ve Maudsley people saying thy’ve been waiting for Southwark Council officers. You could not make this up.

So I’ve now escalated this to the Chief Executive Of Southwark Council in the hope they can resolve this. If they can’t then I’ll use my last resort of a Councillor Call for Action. Yes, Minister have nothing on this!

New East Dulwich Secondary School

This project we started as East Dulwich Lib Dems in 2012 is really coming to life.

Last week the first two areas of Dulwich Hospital land were transferred to the Education finance Agency. Areas 1 & 2 with combined 2 acres or 0.80 hectares. This represents 9.6% of the whole sitesl and – so still a long way to go and Area 3 is planned to be handed over in 2019. Please see this map:

Dulwich Disposal site map

This letter confirms this happening – I almost need to pinch myself:

Dulwich Hospital trasfer letter FINAL

We now all need to work with the Charter East Dulwich project team and NHS to make this all happen smoothly for local residents, patients, and school community.





Free GP’s

We’ve had huge success getting new Free Schools to fix the lack of school places at both primary and secondary school levels. I’ve been involved in making five happen so far. Often despite downright opposition from Southwark Labour until we get huge numbers f parents signed up.

We clearly have work to get these schools fully up and running but largely supporting projects through to implimentation.

Another big issue that affects everyone is our local GP service. GP practices are private businesses. Most are run with real care and dedication from the partners. But not all. The service feels patchy with many deeply unsatisfied patients. I’ve received more casework today where a family are really unhappy but they feel they have no realistic alternative GP practice to move to. This is crazy.

What we need is the option for Free GP practice – run as with school on a not for profit basis – where we don’t have suitable GP alternatives. Where an area attracts sufficient support for a new Free GP practice that central NHS funds are provided to help a new Free GP practice set-up. I’m clear that were we to have this power we would create new a Free GP practice for East Dulwich.

Beauty of this would be real competition for customer service. The rival would be a community led not for profit Free GP practice. It would be run by trustees or governors like schools,

Do you think this is a good idea or a crazy idea?