Patients of Trinity Medical Centre on Croydon Road are being notified that the surgery will close in a few months.
Trinity Medical Centre is a popular local GP practice in the centre of Penge. The building is privately owned and leased to the NHS for use as a GP surgery. When the former GPs retired, they decided to sell the building and, despite efforts by the NHS to find another location, none could be found.
Patients will be contacted and supported to move to one of the other GP practices in and near Penge. This has led to concerns about capacity at already busy surgeries and increased travel times, which can present real problems to those with disabilities or long-term health conditions.
Bromley's Conservative council have stood by as this service closes down. However, Labour Councillors believe the council can and should act to preserve this vital community infrastructure. In their budget proposals for Bromley Council, presented on 24 February, Labour councillors proposed that Bromley Council use available investment funds to buy the building and keep the surgery open.
Councillor Simon Jeal (Labour Lead on Adult Care & Health) said:
“This surgery sits right at the heart of Penge and will be greatly missed.
Instead of sitting by, Bromley Tories should use their significant property investments to benefit our community.
“It is perverse for Bromley Tories to invest resident’s money in land occupied by fast food outlets such as McDonalds in Southampton whilst refusing to invest in a local GP facility. Buying the building would provide a substantial rental income for the council at the same time as adding social value for residents.
Where is the ethical justification? The council is making money out of the sale of burgers and fries which adds to the obesity crisis but won’t invest to prevent local GP surgeries from closing. We know other GP practices are also at risk – how many more here will close before the council steps in?”
Trustees of a charity providing essential day services for older people have warned it could close in just five days time – unless Bromley Council keep their promise to support it.
Bromley Councillors received a letter from the Trustees of Age Concern Ravensbourne who manage the Bertha James Day Centre. The trustees’ letter says that unless the £73k promised by the Leader of the Council is made available immediately, the centre will be forced to close on Friday 13 March.
The trustees have been in dialogue with Bromley’s Conservative Councillors for some time. The centre, which provides social support, personal care services for elderly residents and much needed respite for their carers, can no longer continue under the current funding arrangements.
The council’s shift in how it funds social care have made the day centre’s current service model unviable. This included the sudden imposition of rental payments of £74k by the local authority, when the day centre had never paid rent before given its importance to the community. Bromley council has also cut the amount paid to Bertha James for council funded places and increased the cost of transport services to get users to the centre.
The council had pledged £73k to enable the centre to implement a new financially sustainable way of working – but this has not been paid.
Speaking for Bromley Labour Group, Cllr Angela Wilkins said:
“This situation is appalling. It appears Bertha James Centre has been set up to fail by Bromley’s Conservative council.
At the very end of the last meeting of the Adult Care and Health committee, when members were packing up, we were unexpectedly informed that Bertha James Centre had considerable financial difficulties and would be facing immediate closure unless the council provided £73k.
The committee was told that the money would be provided and that the centre would be able to stay open until December 2020.
I am horrified now to learn that the money has not been paid. I call on Cllr Smith to immediately ‘cough up’, just as he promised to do.”
Having recently met with the management of Bertha James’ Centre, Cllr Wilkins gave more background on the situation:
“The council’s delay in payment on top of its imposition of unsustainable conditions in the centre’s funding is driving this service to closure. Having met recently with the management of BJC, I believe the council should be working constructively to retain this important local service.
I ask the council to lead a full and proper review of the situation –involving current and potential users of the Borough’s day centres. Changes may be necessary, but closure of the centre is final and removes both options for users and respite opportunities for carers.
The Council must not be allowed to set up services to fail, reducing much-needed support options for Bromley’s elderly population.”
We are also incredibly concerned for the future of other day centres in Bromley. We will continue to urge the council to take proactive steps to keep them open, as they can be a lifeline for both users and their carers.
Last night, Labour group leader, Councillor Angela Wilkins proposing Bromley Labour's sixth alternative budget for the borough. Here is what she said:
"I fully expect our alternative budget to be rejected. But I take solace in fact that some of our previous proposals have in fact been implemented:
The difference is that if Labour had been running this council, the last four actions wouldn’t have been necessary.
And we wouldn’t have spent millions on commercial properties – particularly retail ones – that have now depreciated so much in value that this council is taking a massive hit on the so-called family silver. The over-valuations in last year’s books is unprecedented and unacceptable. Not least as we now have three years of unclosed accounts.
Had Labour been running this council, the provision of social and affordable housing would have started 6 years ago – this council would not be facing the current huge costs of temporary accommodation.
Let’s be honest – only reason members opposite voted for modular housing is the cost to this council of homelessness, not the human cost to the lives of families. I have heard comments such as “we don’t want more affordable housing – it’ll only get filled up with immigrants.”
Far more could have been done sooner, had the political will been there. 78% of councils now have companies building homes to sell or rent. What more social housing would have done is put a decent roof over the heads of people like a resident in my ward Crystal Palace.
This man is physically disabled and has various mental health problems. I have, for a year, been trying to get him re-housed and the mental health support he needs – support which was bizarrely taken away the moment he was diagnosed with autism.
Last June this council put an abatement notice on his flat because of the extreme damp. He’s still there, still – still no care provision, still no adaptations so he can have a bath or shower, still no cooking facilities. He's living off Pringles and chocolate. And he is deeply depressed.
It’s a disgrace. I’m embarrassed – members opposite should be ashamed
My Labour Councillor colleagues will speak in more detail about specific areas for which they are the lead. But the major difference between Labour and Conservative budgets is summed up in one word: caring.
Caring more for people and the difficulties they face, caring less for investments and rates of return.
We would sell McDonalds in Bournemouth – and instead buy the property in Penge which houses Trinity Medical Centre. Yes, the rate of return is a little lower – but I’d rather see tax-payers money supporting people’s health than facilitating growing rates of obesity.
Social value is hard to put a £ sign on – but often it saves money in the long run. It stimulates quality of life and greater happiness.
Bromley has the 3rd highest levels of depression in London – that is staggering for a council that boasts about being such a lovely place to live. Labour would not host a Loneliness Summit whilst allowing our day care centres to fail because this council has bled them dry with rent demands.
We would put our money where our mouth is in terms of this council’s zero carbon target. Limiting the management of greenhouse gases to scope 1 & 2 is nothing more than lip service.
Mind you, years of failing to maintain our buildings properly means this council has only itself to blame for the fact that we have the worst record in London for emissions from our own properties.
Just what £875k is supposed to do I don’t know – and I see no money proposed for future years.
Our amendment for an alternative budget is based on caring. It includes fully costed investment as follows:
Unfortunately, as predicted, Labour's alternative budget was voted down by the Conservative group. We hope to see many of the policies adopted.
On National Refugee Day, Bromley Labour Group are launching our petition asking Bromley Council to reverse their decision to pull out of the agreement across London Councils to support lone refugee children.
In 2013, every local council in London pledged to take in some of the children who arrive in the UK with no family after fleeing war zones like Syria or Sudan. But Bromley Council have broken that promise by suddenly pulling out of the agreement.
The reasons Bromley Council have let down the rest of London and children who desperately need support are unclear. They only announced the decision in small print buried in lengthy council end of year accounts, which was spotted by outraged Labour Councillors.
Please sign and share the petition to call on Bromley Council to keep their promise.
Join us for an evening mixing a party, politics & protest.
Tuesday 18 June
The Star and Garter, Bromley High St
7.30pm til late
Organised by Bromley Labour and Bromley Young Labour to mark Pride Month, there will be speakers on current issues for LGBT+ people and how Bromley Labour and Labour councils nearby are tackling them.
June is LGBT Pride Month, chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots 50 years ago with events taking place around London & the U.K. Unlike many councils, Bromley does not mark Pride month in any way.
This is not much of a surprise, from a council which in the past banned gay couples from holding partnership ceremonies in council premises and still largely ignores the needs of LGBT people in providing local services.
With the recent protests over LGBT+ education, Brunei enacting stoning to death as a punishment for gay sex and the rise in homophobia, transphobia and hate crime in the U.K, Pride this year is especially important.
LGBT+ Labour party members and non-members, Allies, partners, friends & family are all welcome to join us.
New figures reveal the cost of homelessness is spiralling due to Bromley Council’s failure to investRead Now
Labour has called on Bromley’s Tory Council to “get the trowels out” and build housing in the borough as the Council admit that the temporary accommodation bill is now seriously over budget.
The Tories refusal to take on board Labour’s sensible, costed proposals to build affordable housing has meant they have been forced to over-spend by £1.74 million on expensive out-of-borough accommodation (1). This is not only bad for the budget, but breaks up communities as homeless families are often placed miles away from their jobs, schools and support.
In an attempt to stem the spiralling bill, the Council have committed to build 128 new affordable homes. Many of these will be modular units as they rush to meet the increasing demand caused by the central Conservative government’s failure to address ever-rising private rents which it combines with devastating welfare cuts.
Bromley council’s approach is out-of-step with responsible local authorities across the capital who ensured on average 24% of new housing built last year was affordable, compared to just 5% in Bromley.
Speaking for the Labour Group, Cllr Angela Wilkins said:
“The Council finally providing new social housing is good news for our homeless families, but the Tories here are lagging well behind neighbouring boroughs in this regard.
It’s high time they got their trowels out and started laying bricks rather than complaining about the costs of homelessness.
Having transferred their council owned homes to housing associations years ago, they are only looking to build new homes now because the costs of temporary accommodation are so high. As ever, in Bromley, it’s about pound signs not about people.
Labour would have started building new homes years ago – which would have saved thousands of pounds and the huge misery of homelessness for our families.”
BY COUNCILLOR ANGELA WILKINS, LEADER OF THE LABOUR GROUP
Bromley Conservatives always vote purely on party lines. So I knew that the proposals in our Alternative Budget weren’t going to be voted through when the council tax increase and budget were decided at the council meeting last night (Monday 25 February). And this was despite our budget being fully-costed and many of our proposals representing a cost-saving.
So why did we bother? In truth, out of frustration – not only with the devastating cuts forced on councils by central government but rather, by Bromley’s Conservative-run council’s approach. For yet another year, myself and the other Labour Councillors are frustrated by Bromley Tories’ record of mismanagement and myopic policy making which sees our costs spiralling whilst our services decline.
We know another way is possible. Labour councils across London are delivering better services, safer communities and cleaner environments – all whilst still balancing the books. Our fully costed Alternative Budget shows how we could do this in Bromley.
We have developed a number of specific proposals: some are off-set by alternative savings, others would actually save money. Together, they add up to a different vision for our borough. Our budget takes a creative approach aiming to do more than simply balance the books (vital though that is). This is a set of policies that would deliver a return-on-investment that could be felt by our local people and communities, as well as the accountants.
But perhaps more importantly, Labour would bring an end to the short-sighted and costly commissioning errors our Conservative-run council has made repeatedly. They are so focused on driving costs ever lower that they have forgotten that cheaper does not usually mean better value.
This meant £1.4m was wasted in the mess they made outsourcing rubbish collection; £7.5 million was needed to return Bromley’s Children’s Services to an adequate standard after a cost-cutting ‘reorganisation’; and £10m of our local tax-payers money went on an HMRC fine due to the Conservatives’ ideological refusal to give contractors their proper employment status. By contrast, Lewisham’s Labour council is bringing staff back in-house, which gives them better terms and saves the council money by cutting out the middle man.
The direct human impact of the cuts-at-all-costs culture is too easy to forget. One of our Labour councillors recently supported a local disabled man who had had his care package unlawfully reduced by 60%. It was reinstated in full when challenged, but not before he had gone through considerable stress, worry and suffering without the support he needs and is entitled to.
My hope was that Bromley’s Tories would put people in Bromley first, and adopt our sensible, creative and fully costed proposals. This was the fourth year we have proposed our Alternative Budget and the fourth year that residents will have to pay more council tax and get less in return.
Bromley could, and should, be so much better and fairer for all”
PRESS RELEASE FROM BROMLEY LABOUR COUNCILLORS
Tuesday 13 November 2018
For immediate release.
Time to speak up for road safety
Following the publication in 2017 of the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy, London Boroughs were required to develop plans for implementing this strategy within their areas via the development of Local Implementation Plans (LIPs).
Bromley Council published their draft LIP for consultation on 2nd November and are now inviting residents, businesses and community groups to comment on the proposals contained in the LIP. The consultation closes on 13 January 2019.
Cllr Ian Dunn, Labour’s Spokesperson for Environment and Community Services said:
“Labour Councillors are aware that an awful lot of people across our Borough are concerned about transport and road safety, and we have called on the Tories numerous times to review their very thin and sketchy policies.
This consultation provides the best opportunity for members of the public to get involved and have their say on issues such as reductions in the use of cars and the introduction of 20 MPH speed limits. Neighbouring boroughs have implemented 20 MPH limits across all their roads – Bromley Tories refuse to. It’s time the public had their say.
As Labour councillors we are meeting with local community groups and talking to residents about this issue; anyone who wishes to have their say can fill in the consultation online on Bromley Council’s or can email me directly with their views”
Notes to editors
Many thanks to Child Poverty Action Group for providing this briefing on child poverty across wards in Bromley.
Each briefing explores issues around housing and homelessness, low pay and the Living Wage and local welfare assistance schemes – and much more - in our area, and in comparison to the rest of London.
Often our Borough is perceived to be prosperous and wealthy – these figures reveal some very worrying truths of which we need to be aware in order to campaign for resources going where they are most needed.”
"THIS COUNCIL CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO HOLD A FURTHER REFERENDUM BEFORE EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION" - CLLR josh kingRead Now
I support a second referendum on leaving the European Union. Let me explain why.
When we were asked to vote on whether to remain or leave the European Union, we were told there were many possibilities for Brexit: remaining in the EEA, like Norway or like Switzerland, or in a different customs union, or with a trade deal similar to Canada – Canada plus plus.
The government would be able to negotiate trade deals; there would be many possibilities. Some even said it would be easy- the easiest of deals.
Now the government is seemingly negotiating for a hard Brexit out of the EEA, out of the single market and with no freedom of movement. And what will be the effect of any restrictive immigration policy on Bromley? Where jobs paying under £50K are not considered skilled. What will this mean for the NHS? Or the banking sector? Or IT? No one can be certain but it doesn’t seem positive. I think Bromley voters understood this when they voted for remain.
And what about the fairness of the referendum and the campaigns?
A few groups were not able to vote: unlike in the Scottish independence referendum.
In the Brexit referendum 16- and 17-year olds and European citizens in the UK could not vote - in many ways groups who will be most greatly affected by any Brexit.
Or what about two campaigns being fined by the Electoral Commission for breaking electoral law.
There were also serious allegations about manipulation and misrepresentations on social media by a foreign power and about payments to campaigns by foreign nationals.
And of course, I really ought to mention £350 million a week saving criticised by the UK Statistics Authority and many other analysts.
We’ve also seen that the government can’t agree what to do amongst itself let alone the rest of its party. 6 ministers and 4 PPSs have resigned over Brexit. We now face the prospect of crashing out of the EU with no deal - not a prospect anyone put forward as a likely or favourable outcome.
When the electorate voted 52: 48% this wasn’t the prospect they were sold.
Surely the public should be consulted again.
I support a second referendum – I know the Prime Minister has said there won’t be one but we’ve seen her change her mind before and she should again!