Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

Continued government austerity measures frustrate efforts of Health and Wellbeing Board

by Ian Shires on 8 March, 2017

Image result for walsall health and wellbeing boardWalsall’s Health and Wellbeing Board met this week to discuss a range of topics ranging from the work of the Safeguarding Children’s Board, through to bringing together all the local agencies in a single Health and Wellbeing Strategy to form the Walsall Plan.

There were performance updates on the work being done to promote and support healthy ageing and independent living and the Better Care Fund. On this last matter there was concern expressed about the lack of information coming from the Government on the future of the Better Care Fund as once again plans have been put on hold. Officers of Walsall Council and Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group continue to meet to negotiate the plan in the absence of ministerial guidance.

Right across the board there were concerns about the Government’s continuing austerity measures which was leading to budgets being stretched to breaking point. “There is a great deal of hard work being put in by all the partners across Walsall” said Liberal Democrat Cllr Ian Shires. “As well as the well publicised cuts being faced by councils, we now see for the first time real time cuts to NHS budgets and the recent news that schools budgets also face reductions over the next two years. Put these all together and the battle to reduce the health inequalities across our borough just gets that much harder.”

Health inequalities in Walsall show that there still remains around an eight year life expectancy difference between those living in the centre and west of the borough compared to their wealthier counterparts in the more affluent east. “Continuing austerity measures by Mrs May’s Tories in Westminster further frustrates the work of the Board” concluded Cllr Shires.

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