Tower Hamlets' GPs suffering from NHS cuts, says Labour frontbencher

By Rob Virtue on May 14, 2014 9:23 AM |

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Labour MP Andy Burnham has criticised the Government for the "disproportionate" number of doctor surgeries under threat in Tower Hamlets.

The Shadow Health Secretary visited the Jubilee Street Practice on Commercial Road on Tuesday to speak to one of five health centres in the borough that say they are under severe strain due to changes introduced to NHS funding.

Afterwards, he told The Wharf: "It's an unbelievable state of affairs that so many valued practices are under threat here.

"Today has been an eye-opener. I listened to their concerns and that they told me they are six months away from closure. This really can't be allowed to happen.

"There's 98 practices across the country under immediate threat with five of them in Tower Hamlets. That's a disproportionate number in an area which really needs these services."

The NHS claimed the changes to funding saw most practices in London receive more money and it would support those "facing financial challenges". It also said the changes would take place over seven years to allow practices "time to adjust".

However, Mr Burnham, who said the problem has come from the coalition Government "wasting billions" on re-organising the health service, said action needed to be taken urgently,

"That money has had to come from somewhere," he added. "I'm laying the blame fully at (Health Secretary) Jeremy Hunt's door.

"Admittedly there are winners and losers but what we've consistently seen from the Government is they've been pushing money in some of the richer areas and taking it away from the most needy."

He promised Tower Hamlets GPs he would raise their issues in Parliament.