Autumn Statement: Government allowing Esher and Walton’s health service to crumble

30 Nov 2023

Liberal Democrats in Esher and Walton have accused the Government of being ‘content with local health services crumbling’ after Wednesday’s Autumn Statement failed to provide additional funding for local health services.

Before the Autumn Statement, the party had been calling for the Chancellor to invest in a robust NHS rescue plan as ever-growing treatment backlogs have stalled the economy, damaging both growth and quality of life. 

These measures would have included reversing Conservative cuts to vital public health services in Esher and Walton and delivering 8,000 more GPs across the country to create 65 million more appointments every year.

There are 160,000 people currently waiting for NHS treatment in Surrey, facing an average wait of nearly 14 weeks. The Liberal Democrats have warned that treatment backlogs are damaging economic growth after a poll commissioned by the party showed that one in seven people had taken a significant length of time off work whilst waiting for treatment on the NHS.

The worsening outlook for Esher and Walton patients is compounded by the fact that funding for health services in the constituency is 5% lower than the national average, despite being an area with high staffing and property costs, and our two local hospitals have repair backlogs that, in total, will cost nearly £100m to address.

Apart from ignoring the crisis in our health service, the Chancellor proposed tax changes that will not ‘touch the sides’ after years of unfair tax hikes that Dominic Raab MP has consistently voted in favour of.  

Monica Harding, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Esher and Walton said:

“This Conservative Government seems completely content to sit back and allow Esher and Walton’s local health services to crumble. Patients are waiting longer and longer for treatment, our local hospitals are literally falling apart and primary care services are on their knees due to rising demand. This was an opportunity for the Government to put their money where it is needed ahead of what is likely to be another difficult winter for our NHS.

“They are either so out of touch they cannot see how many people are struggling to access healthcare, or they simply do not care.

“The Autumn Statement was an opportunity to get people off NHS waiting lists and allow them to return to work so we can rescue our flatlining economy. 

“Instead we got empty promises, stale nonsense and a tax cut that’s not even a drop in the ocean compared to what people have already paid.”

END

Notes to Editors: 

Polling:

Polling methodology: Savanta interviewed 2,235 UK adults aged 18+ online between 10th and 13th November 2023. Data were weighted to be representative of the UK by age, sex, region and social grade. Full details here.

Which of the following have you experienced in the last year? Base: All respondents who are currently working (n=1,305)

Unable to go to work as waiting for GP appointment 

19%

Unable to go to work as waiting for emergency dental appointment 

12%

Took a lengthy period off work whilst waiting for NHS treatment or surgery 

15%

Don’t know

4%

None of these

60%

NET: Any

36%

Liberal Democrats are calling for an emergency funding boost for the NHS and social care including:

Delivering 8,000 more GPs to create 65 million more appointments every year.

Urgently reforming NHS dentistry to end dental deserts and DIY dentistry.

Giving the NHS 200 new radiotherapy machines and training 3,400 extra cancer nurses.

Preparing for urgent pressures this winter to avoid a new crisis, with an immediate boost to NHS staffed hospital bed capacity and ambulance services.

Tackling the black hole in adult and children’s social care services, and giving care workers a proper pay rise.

Reversing Conservative cuts to vital public health services in local communities, such as children's health services and drug and alcohol services.

Proper mental health support, by rolling out community walk-in centres for children and young people and providing every school with a qualified mental health practitioner.