Dear Hugo

Firstly, thank you for organising the parliamentary debate on community hospital bed losses a couple of weeks ago. It was good to see local MPs batting for public services and for Devon residents.

You may have seen the media coverage of Sarah Wollaston’s health select committee findings concerning the £10bn that the government claims it is ploughing into the health service.

Dr Wollaston’s committee has found that government ministers altered the definition of what constitutes health spending in order to give an inflated figure.

The actual sum is thought to be in the region of around £4bn.

In addition, NHS growth funding has dropped from six per cent a few years ago to a flatline, while costs and demand continue to rise dramatically.

Dr Wollaston has now urged chancellor, Philip Hammond to provide more funding for health services in the autumn statement.

This morning the national press published a story about the crisis in social care.

Rising costs, the ageing population, difficulties recruiting staff and years of central government reducing its grant have left the service in crisis, a Local Government Association report states.

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board has also urged the chancellor to provide more funding for social care.

You may be aware that Devon County Council’s adult social care budget is currently around £5m overspent and that the council will need to recoup this money before April 2017.

Devon County Council was forced to apply a two per cent levy on council tax this year in order to plug some of the funding gap from central government.  This means of course, that residents are paying higher council tax for fewer services.

Now 71 community hospital beds in Eastern Devon are at risk of closure because of the funding crisis in our local NHS. And plans announced by the Success Regime to look after more people in their own homes could be hugely affected by the hole in Devon County Council’s adult social care budget.

I am writing to you to urge you to recognise the crisis that is sweeping our NHS locally and nationally. And the crisis in social care that is (and will) cause much hardship to the most vulnerable people in East Devon and across the country.

I am writing to urge you to back your colleague, Dr Wollaston and LGA by writing to the chancellor asking him to provide more funding for the NHS and social care, in his autumn statement.

Please do not reply enclosing a standard minister’s response littered with financial statistics falsely claiming that there isn’t a problem and lots of funding is being pumped in. I have two eyes, two ears and I follow what is happening in the NHS and social care assiduously.  So do many other people. It is in crisis and the crisis is deepening. Every single day. 

Each East Devon resident is at the mercy of this government and the decisions it makes over funding public services.  We rely on our elected representatives to make robust representations at government level on our behalf.

We all know the NHS and social care needs more money. Please please back Dr Wollaston, the LGA, local residents and ask the chancellor for more funding.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes
Claire