Councillor says grant to cover electricity costs of mobile breast screening unit in Lichfield sets “a dangerous precedent”

A Lichfield councillor has explained why she decided to vote against giving a grant to help cover the electricity costs of a mobile breast screening unit in the city.

Members of Lichfield City Council debated the proposal to give £3,000 in funding to the Boley Park facility at a meeting earlier this month.

But Cllr Christine Rapley, Lib Dem representative for the Chadsmead ward, said councils should not be responsible for plugging the gaps in NHS finance.

Cllr Christine Rapley

“I consider that the grant of £3,000 is inappropriate – and wrong in principle.

“The NHS electricity costs should be paid for by the NHS. I recognise the importance of local facilities for the benefit of all who live in the area.

“I, like many, am a big fan of our NHS, which sadly has been asset stripped by the policies of successive governments both Labour and Conservative.

“Were it not for asset stripping and the sale of hospitals and their land around the country for private profit – and bad governmental management – we would have a decent sized hospital here that could offer breast screening on site.”

Cllr Christine Rapley, Lichfield City Council

“This grant is wrong”

Cllr Rapsey said funding NHS services from council coffers would set a “dangerous precedent”

“The mobile unit is of course really important, but it’s my view that it’s nonsensical that a city council should be paying for the NHS electricity.

“The mobile unit should be simply what people of Lichfield ought to be able to expect as part of our NHS.

“Irrespective of the fact that the NHS is under pressure due to Covid and facing huge costs as a result of many dodgy contracts and private profit – this grant is wrong.

“Subsidising the NHS is not what a city council ought to be doing. Let the NHS pay its own bills.

“It will set a dangerous precedent whereby it is not unimaginable that in the years ahead, Lichfield will get its mobile breast screening unit only if local people foot the bill for electricity.

“The thought is a kind one by the grants committee, but in my view wrong-headed.”

Cllr Christine Rapley, Lichfield City Council

The Lib Dem member also told the meeting of the city council that money should be going to support services which were not centrally funded.

“If there is spare cash perhaps instead it could go to food banks used by many unemployed, who through no fault of their own have lost their means of income due to Brexit and Covid?

“Food banks never have enough supplies, but the demand is ever there as we live in an increasingly them and us country.”

Cllr Christine Rapley, Lichfield City Council

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