Concern at loss of community facilities

8/5/2015 (PM)''The Local Election for Portsmouth taking place at Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday.''Pictured is: Liberal Democrat Gerald Vernon-Jackson was elected for Milton ward. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150825-8050) PPP-150805-201603001
8/5/2015 (PM)''The Local Election for Portsmouth taking place at Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday.''Pictured is: Liberal Democrat Gerald Vernon-Jackson was elected for Milton ward. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150825-8050) PPP-150805-201603001
From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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CONCERN about the amount of money the NHS needs to save has been raised by politicians.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the Portsmouth Liberal Democrats, said: ‘This is a lot of money to be cutting and my concern is the potential loss of community facilities.

‘If you cut there then more people will stay in hospital and that costs the taxpayer more.

‘Some changes are good. For instance pharmacies having HIV medicine.

‘But others such as reducing agency staff is worrying as they’re used to fill in for staff vacancies, and if they’re not used then are the services going to be there?’

Councillor John Ferrett, leader of the Labour party in Portsmouth and chairman of the health overview and scrutiny panel, said it was a ‘big concern’.

He said: ‘We have been told health services were protected, but it doesn’t feel like it.

‘As well as the NHS making cuts, the social care sector is also facing pressures and that’s also another strain.’

However Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said innovative work was being done to help make savings,

She said: ‘I’m proud we are the only party funding the shortfall in the NHS budget, predicted to be an additional £8bn.

‘But even with more money going into health than ever before, the challenges are huge.

‘Locally we have to be really innovative to keep pace with both the demands of an ageing population and also the immense opportunities new medical breakthroughs bring.’