A THURROCK councillor has urged the NHS to answer for a plan that will see almost half a million pounds taken from the borough due to financial mismanagement by other health teams.
Cllr Victoria Holloway, who chairs the health overview and scrutiny committee, has written several letters to the health service telling them it is vital they attend an upcoming scrutiny meeting and explain why £480,000 is set to be handed over to Cambridge and Peterborough.
It comes after the health authority overseeing Cambridge and Peterborough incurred a deficit of more than £140 million.
In one letter, the Labour councillor explained that losing the money could mean delays to the implementation of a 24-hour crisis team who would focus on supporting Thurrock’s most vulnerable residents, as well as improvements to care for people with personality disorders.
She wrote: “It appears that little consideration has been provided by NHS England on the impact that a reduction of funding might have on Thurrock’s ability to achieve constitutional standards or honour commitments made to partners as part of improving health and wellbeing outcomes for the population of Thurrock.
“As such, I strongly urge you consider the implications and not to withdraw these funds.”
She goes on to say that it is vital that Ann Radmore, regional director of the NHS in the East of England, attends a scrutiny meeting and explain the reasons behind the decision.
In response, Ms Radmore declined the invitation and justifies the cash handover as being due to a “long history of financial issues” in Cambridge and Peterborough. She stresses that the money taken from Thurrock will eventually be repaid.
The exchanges between the pair continue in a series of subsequent letters, with Ms Holloway pointing out that it is a legal requirement for her committee to scrutinise these kinds of decisions and that someone from the health service should properly explain the reason for the decision.
Ms Radmore continues to reject the idea of attending and instead suggests a “closed session” for “broader dialogue” – something Ms Holloway rejects, due to there not being any reason for the public to be excluded from the meeting.
With the NHS failing to commit to attending the meeting, this exchange of letters will be discussed by the Health and Well-being scrutiny committee on Thursday.
The NHS’ decision will impact all areas in the East of England, including Southend which has been asked to hand over £610,000.