Local Edinburgh group establishes campaign to stop £15.9m of cuts to city health and social care services

Astley Ainslie Hospital, which will could be affected by cuts to rehabilitation services.

Last week the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB), an Edinburgh City Council and NHS partnership that manages health services in the city, approved more than £8 million of cuts to health and care services.

The cuts comprise just one phase of a larger savings program in which £15.9 million of EIJB funding will be slashed.

Cuts approved at last week’s EIJB meeting include £8.95 million from learning disability services, carers investment, community equipment, home care, prescribing activities and care package payments.

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Savings will also come from rehabilitation and sexual health services, pending a review of how efficiencies can be made.

Now, Edinburgh East Save Our Services are calling on citizens to email their MSPs and local councillors asking them to prevent the cuts from going ahead.

The community group, which comprises residents based in the Northfield and Portobello area of Edinburgh, are also raising awareness of the issue on social media and their website.

They have created an email template for people to use when emailing local politicians on the issue, and say that a promising number of people are already taking part.

Lorna Frost, an organiser with the group, said: “These cuts to services go against the expressed desire of citizens and the council to tackle poverty in our city.

“We have already emailed our councillors and MSPs and hope others will join us in doing this.

“The pandemic has shown how much we depend on good health care, good education and good services. Coming at any time these cuts would have a terrible impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our city. In the wake of lockdown and with the prospect of a winter second wave of Covid19, the affect will be devastating.”

Ms Frost added: “These cuts and any short-term savings are false economies. Reducing services thatensure sexual health, support and rehabilitation for substance abuse, support for independent living and an improved quality of life for people with disabilities is inefficient economically.”

“We know we need each other and care for each other. Our elected representatives must concentrate on ensuring integrated, properly funded services to tackle the hardship and suffering many people face.

“This may mean borrowing and putting pressure on the Scottish government to provide sufficient funding. But in every consultation Edinburgh folk have said that this support is more important than creating a playground for visitors.”

A Spokesperson for the EIJB said: “For the past three years the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) has annually agreed a programme of savings to address any identified budget gap.

“The EIJB has approved a range of proposals that consider the requirement for immediate savings to ensure financial balance and provide a clear and structured approach for future years.

“A detailed overview of the impact of each proposal has been prepared to ensure that no group or area is cumulatively, disproportionately impacted by the savings programmes.”

Edinburgh News