YOUR VOICE: I fear for the future of NHS services in Kingston if changes to planning laws are passed

the COSMOS: Kingston – a campaign group set up by local residents – worries that Kingston CCG’s (Clinical Commissioning Group’s) sale of Cambridge Road Estate’s (CRE) Hawk’s Road Clinic for housing will show how the government’s proposed relaxation of planning laws may quicken the sale of NHS services in the Royal Borough of Kingston (RBK) and elsewhere.

The sale of NHS assets and outsourcing of services to private providers increased following the passage of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. The 2012 act, many experts believe, is designed to divest the NHS of its core infrastructure, so that it can be reduced to a funding stream, with the paring down of publicly provided services over time, so as to encourage the growth the private medical insurance industry.

Some Kingston residents claim that the sale of the Hawks road clinic to RBK for housing development is a local example of this trend, in which bricks and mortar institutions and services are exchanged for cashflow.

Under the plans to demolish and rebuild Cambridge Road Estate, which RBK describes as “regeneration”, its population is set to more than double.

This has raised concerns about the ability of local NHS services to cope with the planned rise in the number of people living in the area, if and when the site of the Hawks Road Clinic is converted to housing.

Whilst in its record of decisions made on the 13th February 2020 at the Finance and Partnerships Committee, Kingston Council has stated an “intention to work with the CCG to develop new community and health hub facilities on the Cambridge Road Estate redevelopment if there is a ‘yes vote’”, there is no plan for a replacement health centre in the CRE Landlord Offer.

Moreover, the report referred to by the council’s record of decisions does not guarantee that healthcare services will be provided on the new estate, simply raising this as a possibility, suggesting only that services “could be provided” [emphasis added], not that they will be.

RBK has also reported that Kingston CCG has designated the Hawks Road clinic service as “surplus to requirements”, making for an uncertain future for the provision of NHS services to both new and existing residents of Cambridge Road Estate.

The COSMOS Kingston is an advocacy group campaigning for social justice in local council policy and against the sale of NHS assets. Details of their campaign to encourage Kingston Council to resist the government’s planning reforms can be found here:

The COSMOS national campaign to End & Reverse NHS Privatisation can be found here:

Dr Phil Bevin

Dr Phil Bevin

Dr Phil Bevin is an ambassador of the Cosmos: Kingston, and a Surbiton resident.

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