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Concerns raised over "serious rift" between Sutton Council and GPs
A politician has expressed concern about a "serious rift" between the borough's doctors and its Liberal Democrat councillors.
Emily Brothers, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam, raised concerns after going to a meeting of Sutton Council's health and wellbeing board on Monday.
She said: "It is apparent that a serious rift has arisen between local GPs and Lib Dem councillors."
She also criticised Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow for his decisions during his time as health minister.
Among the items discussed at Monday's meeting was a section about allowing council representatives to sit on the CCG's board.
When the board was instigated, it was decided council representatives should not be allowed on it to prevent a conflict of interests.
Despite this, Councillor Ruth Dombey, chairwoman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, denied there was any rift.
She said: “There was not a rift between the GPs and the councillors at the Health and Wellbeing Board, only a robust discussion about the future of healthcare in Sutton.
“Our Health and Wellbeing Board aims to work with the Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group and voluntary and community sectors and National Health Service England to find a solution to health needs for the borough.
“We did not approve the CCG’s five year strategic plan because councillors were not given the chance to help shape it. One area of particular concern is that it did not outline any plans to protect services at St Helier Hospital.
“Councillors would like to have the chance to contribute to the plan before it returns to a future Health and Wellbeing Board for approval.”
Following the meeting, Ms Brothers said: "I’m very concerned by the lack of trust between Lib Dem councillors and the GPs who run the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
"I’m very conscious that the CCG has been presented with a longstanding thorny challenge.
"This hasn’t been helped at all by former health minister and local MP, Paul Burstow, putting in place the new architecture for a privatised health economy."
Among the health and wellbeing board's functions is the scrutiny of local medical provision, much of which is run by Sutton CCG.
CCGs were set up in the wake of the coalition Government's health and social care act in 2012 and give GPs more power over local provision and health spending although critics have said the bill facilitates what Ms Brothers referred to as a "privatised health market".