Monday, 17 February 2014

Falling Between the Cracks

A resident contacted me today about an all-too-familiar problem - the City of London's blindness to the effects of administrative decisions on the disadvantaged inhabitants of our Ward.

The City and Hackney form a joint NHS Trust. Patients in the City need to access services in Hackney, and this includes additional travel costs for City residents if they are dealing with a specialist unit that is only based in Hackney.

In this particular instance, the Hackney based service issued a request for a discretionary (disabled) Freedom Pass, which would have been granted pro forma by Hackney Council in this case.

The patient was sent the Hackney paperwork, as that is the default setting for City and Hackney NHS - only a handful of City residents would need this type of discretionary travel pass in any particular year, the majority of patients live in Hackney.

The paperwork was rejected, as the patient is a City resident. A City form was then requested, and submitted to Guildhall. It was not processed, as the City does not issue such 'discretionary' passes anymore. It used to, but about three or so years ago, a committee in Guildhall decided to no longer issue such passes.

This is a clear case of City policy discriminating against  residents with additional needs, where a similar vulnerable resident, using the same NHS services just across the municipal boundary, would have access to better quality support.

The City is unable to provide the specialist NHS services required by its residents within the City boundary. That is why we have a joint NHS service. If a  patient needs to travel to Hackney access specialist NHS services, and the nature of their treatment is such as to qualify them for a disabled FreedomPass in the Hackney part of the NHS Trust, then it should also qualify them in the City..

This is a typical example of the lack of joined-up governance that affects City residents. Due to the demographic profile of Portsoken residents, with our high percentage of young families,unemployed and elderly, we tend to suffer more from this than other wards.

I hear this complaint over and over again from residents in Portsoken - that in many respects they would be better served living in Hackney, or in Tower Hamlets. The so-called 'benefits' of living in the City ring hollow to many of our local residents.
Printed and promoted by Evan Philip Millner of 19b Petticoat Tower, Petticoat Square, City of London E1 7EF

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