What has Sadiq Khan got to say about health?

Election London

I owe the NHS everything. I was born in St George’s Hospital in Tooting, as were my two daughters. I know how crucial our health service is to millions of Londoners on a daily basis. That’s why so many Londoners share my alarm at how the Tories have allowed the NHS to drift into crisis.

London's health

Despite the magnificent efforts of our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, patients are suffering. Year on year, waiting lists get longer, it’s harder to see your GP, and waiting times in A&E and for ambulances are increasing. The NHS in London has fallen into a large financial deficit, threatening future cuts to services, while mental health services can’t cope with growing demand. The high cost of living and shortage of affordable homes means many hospitals are struggling to recruit and retain health workers. Underfunded social care services mean that many Londoners don’t receive early support to prevent avoidable hospital admissions. And, since NHS London was abolished by the Tories, London is without the city-wide strategic leadership on health it desperately needs.

Londoners need a Mayor who will stand up for the city’s health services. I’m determined to be that Mayor, using City Hall to argue for the resources the NHS needs, defending it against Tory attacks, and campaigning alongside patients, health-workers and all NHS supporters against any service closures or reconfigurations without proper consultation. I will fight for new powers to plan and coordinate services across the city, and use them, in collaboration with partners, to ensure that all Londoners have proper access to health services, with solutions tailored to the different needs of patients, communities and places. And I will do what I can to ensure that we move towards parity of esteem between physical and mental health and illness.

Leadership on health

As Mayor, I want to take the lead on health in the city. I will:

  • Be a champion for London’s NHS, protecting you, your friends and your family from the worst of the Tory failure on health in the capital, fighting for greater support for GP, A&E, London Ambulance Service and mental health services, and integration of services around the patient.
  • Campaign for extra powers to coordinate your health services across the city to provide proper strategic planning, and ensure greater access for Londoners to crucial services while providing democratic scrutiny of London-wide health services. 
  • Work with the NHS and the London Ambulance Service to help improve staff retention and recruitment.
  • Champion the need for additional funding to plug the social care gap, and the joining up of services to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. I will promote borough innovation and leadership on the ground to shift from reactive care to prevention, early intervention and care closer to home.
  • Launch a review of the provision of bus services to London’s hospitals.

Improving public health

I will be a Mayor who takes action to improve public health and tackle health inequalities in London. The current Mayor has neglected this crucial area, despite the spreading of diseases that we once thought were eradicated here such as TB and measles, worsening air pollution, and the alarming growth in childhood obesity. I won’t duck the difficult decisions necessary to improve the health of all Londoners. I will:

  • Get to grips with health inequality in London, leading from City Hall on reducing the spread of infectious diseases and promoting healthier lifestyles to harder-to-reach groups and communities, while improving the screening of Londoners to halt the spread of TB.
  • Develop a comprehensive public health strategy, focused around the promotion of active lifestyles, including sport, walking and cycling, to all Londoners, supporting those who want to shake off lifestyle risks such as drugs, smoking and alcohol, and tackling childhood obesity, including through challenging the spread of fast food shops in areas close to schools.
  • Tackle London’s dangerously polluted air.
  • Renew our focus on prevention of and screening for HIV, working with boroughs on collective commissioning and provision of prevention services and ensuring that effective information on HIV is reaching the right audiences.

Greater support for mental health

So many of us suffer from mental health problems at some point in our lives, yet there is still a stigma attached to mental illness, and within our health services, mental health still does not enjoy parity of esteem with physical health. I will:

  • Lead a campaign to break down the stigma of mental illness, and improve the availability of information and support, particularly amongst young men in London, and particular at-risk groups such as BAME men, and the LGBT+ community.
  • Promote and support Mental Health Awareness Week.
  • Coordinate efforts to reduce the number of people who take their own lives. I will expand best practice in crisis care support, and encourage better joint working between boroughs, health services, police, transport and voluntary sectors when dealing with people with mental health issues.

This comes from Sadiq’s manifesto.