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'This cannot continue': Campaign launched to end 'discriminatory' health provision in Ilford South

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 August 2019

Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

An Ilford campaigner plans to mount a legal challenge against NHS leaders and Redbridge Council to end "discriminatory" health provision in the borough's most deprived ward.

Meenakshi Sharma, founder of Ilford Lives Matter, has launched a CrowdJustice campaign to fund a legal challenge against "unacceptable" health provision in Ilford South and if successful, she hopes Redbridge Council and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group will "reconsider their funding plans" for health services in the ward.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes admitted that GP surgeries in the ward are not being given adequate resources, but mounting a legal challenge against the NHS to try and sort it out would be a waste of public money.

A legal challenge would look at the way funding is allocated by NHS England or the "inadequate" planning by the council and CCG in respect of health infrastructure in Ilford South, Ms Sharma said.

"With the constant construction of additional housing units in the Ilford South area and the subsequent further increase in our population, things are going from bad to worse," she said.

"The huge need for health infrastructure to go along with the increased population is simply not being given the attention it deserves."

Ms Sharma says GP surgeries in the area are not being given adequate resources and many staff who cannot cope with the pressure are leaving and not being replaced.

"Poor health provision is leading to a marked decline in the health outcomes for people living in the area. This situation cannot be allowed to continue," she said.

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Ms Sharma believes the legal case could set an important precedent for other deprived areas in the country.

Mr Gapes said: "I don't think the NHS should be wasting money with fighting legal challenges.

"It's far better that local representatives and MPs challenge and raise these issues about inadequate resources, which I will continue to do.

"There is a crisis here, but it's a London-wide problem and there is a major problem with the number of GPs.

"I agree that the council should be doing far more to make sure there are adequate services with all the new housing.

"But the way to do this is not by wasting public money by forcing them to fight legal challenges."

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: "Tackling health and social inequalities is a key priority for the council and we're working closely with the NHS to reduce this and improve health outcomes in the south of the borough.

"Our work includes commissioning a comprehensive range of services which address health inequalities and promote health and wellbeing.

"We continue to work with our NHS partners and have active discussions about the opportunity of new primary care facilities.

"There is a lot of work to done in addressing health inequalities but we are not complacent and are continually seeking ensure we improve our services and advocate on behalf of our residents to promote their health and wellbeing."

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