Labour urges Council to do more to protect ‘deteriorating’ NHS services in Wandsworth

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP speaks in the debate

A deterioration in the standards, safety, waiting times and financial health at St George’s hospital were last week highlighted by the Wandsworth Labour Group in a debate at the Town Hall.

Speaking in the debate, Labour councillor Mark Thomas said the findings of a recent inspection of St George’s by the Care Quality Commission, were “frankly very concerning”.

Specifically, Cllr Thomas said he was concerned about overcrowding, electrical safety issues, a failure to meet the 4 hour A&E waiting time target, a year end forecast deficit of £55.5 million, a staff survey which reported unacceptable levels of bullying and harassment and the Trust’s “extreme” overall level of exposure to core operational risk.

He also noted that “the challenges faced by the Trust have been compounded by the industrial action caused by the Government’s mishandling of the junior doctor’s dispute”.

Speaking in the debate, Tooting MP, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, a former A and E doctor at St George’s hospital, made a passionate speech in defence of junior doctors, their commitment and hard work.

Continue reading “Labour urges Council to do more to protect ‘deteriorating’ NHS services in Wandsworth”

Tooting’s diversity is inspiring and liberating

image-11Councillor Paul White’s maiden speech to Wandsworth Council, October 2016

Thank you Mayor for allowing me to make my maiden speech during this debate around aspiration.

It is a topic I can speak on and it is with regret that I do so without my inspiration and the man who made me what I am today, as my father passed away 13 years ago.

He would be over joyed and not a little surprised, to see me as an elected Labour councillor, as he was an active trade unionist and Labour Party member in Merton and helped Siobhain McDonagh finally get elected, but it only took her 3 attempts and not four, like me!

My parents, were Irish immigrants to this country and were eager for their sons to do well and make our mark, a typical immigrant’s aspirational attitude to the opportunities offered here, but maybe not available at home.

I was brought up in social housing in Brixton and I have indeed been lucky enough to remain in social housing areas for all of my life.

It provided the platform for me and now one of my sons who is in university in America, having been inspired by the mixed area he grew up in and it’s this REALLY affordable environment that is important to maintain and continue to build, with every opportunity we have, including the Nine Elms development of which we now speak. Continue reading “Tooting’s diversity is inspiring and liberating”

Why Wandsworth Council must step up to the mental health challenge


Speech to Wandsworth Council by councillor Rachael Stokes in recognition of World Mental Health Day 

Many of you will be familiar with the statistic that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in our lives. In this chamber, it means 15 of us.

Within Wandsworth, this equates to nearly 80,000 residents – with nearly 50,000 residents thought to have a mental disorder at this current time. If we have not personally experienced mental illness at some stage in our lives, then we almost certainly know friends or family that have.

The issue has a clear youth dimension: around half of those with mental health conditions will have experienced their first symptoms before the age of 14. In Wandsworth, the latest report on health and wellbeing of children and young people found that the proportion of year 7-10 pupils reporting ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ emotional health is in decline (from 74% to 72%).

The estimated prevalence of children aged 5-16 years in the Borough with mental health conditions is more than 3,400, with a much higher prevalence among males than females.

The imperative to act on mental health is ultimately one focused on ensuring everyone can fulfil their potential and live a healthy life. However, it is also clear that failure to address mental ill-health has broader social and economic consequences.

In England alone these are estimated to cost up to £105 billion a year – both from the inevitable impact on health and social care services through to lost economic output.

Continue reading “Why Wandsworth Council must step up to the mental health challenge”

Help us win the Queenstown ward by-election

You can join our campaign to elect Aydin Dikerdem in Queenstown ward today.

We’re out listening to local people every day.

Tuesday, Oct 25

11am: Meet at 177 Lavender Hill

6.30pm: Meet outside Queenstown Road station

Wednesday, Oct 26

11am: Meet at 177 Lavender Hill

6.30pm: Meet outside the shops on the Patmore Estate (SW8 4XS)

Thursday, Oct 27

11am: Meet at 177 Lavender Hill

6.30pm: Meet outside the shops on the Patmore Estate (SW8 4XS)

Saturday, Oct 29

11am: Meet outside Tesco Metro, 275 Battersea Park Road (SW11 5TE)

2pm: Meet at Flanagan’s pub, Battersea Park Road

Sunday Oct 30

11am: Meet outside Patmore Estate shops, Thessaly Street (SW8 4XS)

Monday, Oct 31

11am: Meet at 177 Lavender Hill

6.30pm: Meet outside Queenstown Road station

Tuesday, Nov 1

11am: Meet at 177 Lavender Hill

6.30pm: Meet outside Queenstown Road station

Hope to see you soon – don’t forget the by-election is on November 10!

Community campaign halts closure of Battersea Sports Centre

Wandsworth Council has agreed to keep Battersea Sports Centre open following a community campaign led by local Labour councillors.

The Tory council planned to demolish the Sports Centre as soon as possible to make way for new housing. Strong objections from local people led the council to find a different site for the new homes.

Battersea Sports Centre will now remain open, and meanwhile plans are being drawn up to build a new large leisure centre as part of the nearby Winstanley and York Road Estate regeneration.

Simon Hogg, Leader of Wandsworth Labour said: “I’m delighted that we’re keeping our Sports Centre open. So many local people told me they love Battersea Sports Centre – from jiu jitsu black-belts and basketballers to the kids who play football on the AstroTurf. The council should create more opportunities for people to play sport, not take them away.”

The Labour Party has always opposed the knocking down of Battersea Sports Centre on Hope Street which is well used and a key asset to a deprived community. Last year, Battersea Labour Councillors submitted a petition to the Council with 750 signatures.

The Council papers agreed last week state: “as there is no immediate requirement for the Hope Street site as a decant site…[the acquisition of the Shuttleworth Road site] provides an opportunity to review the closure of Battersea Sports Centre”.

The Battersea Sports Centre has four badminton courts, a gym, dance studio, café, treatment room, outdoor basketball court and an outdoor pitch.

Labour wins reprieve for healthy trees on Tooting Common

20160221_153414This week Wandsworth Council voted to fell and replace the majority of the 77 trees on Chestnut Avenue which crosses Tooting Common. Those judged “healthy” by the Council will be preserved, following a Labour amendment in favour of saving the healthy trees.

Recent tree surveys had found that many, though not all, of the trees were diseased and a recent Council consultation found that a 74% of residents wanted to see the whole avenue replaced.

However, the issue has divided opinion. The Friends of Tooting Common conducted their own survey which found that a majority opposed the felling of the avenue and an FOTC petition opposing felling gathered 2,800 signatures. Many residents felt strongly that healthy trees should not be removed.

According to Labour Speaker on the Committee, councillor Fleur Anderson; “The Council consultation showed that local people are in favour of preserving the avenue for future generations by replanting. However the Labour Group on the Committee listened to the concerns of those who opposed the felling of healthy trees and amended the proposal to save as many trees as possible. We will continue to fight for the healthy trees to be saved”.

Cllr Anderson added that she had concerns about the way the Council had sought the views of residents. “Wandsworth wasn’t going to consult on this issue until we pushed for public consultation. The consultation was poorly promoted until we pushed for 9,000 letters to be sent to residents and public drop-in sessions to be held on the Common. Wandsworth was going to fell all the trees, including the healthy ones, until we secured a reprieve. This is not a Council that knows how to listen”.

Initial Council surveys indicated that a large number of trees were in good or fair condition. The Council recently downgraded this assessment and now classifies just 5 of the 77 trees as “healthy”.

Fishponds playing field in Tooting opens to the public after 6 year campaign

Fishponds playing fieldsThe Fishponds playing field on Hebdon Road in Tooting will finally be open to the public after a six year campaign by the then MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, local Labour councillors and residents.

“It has taken the council a long time but we are delighted that what used to be a locked door for all except those who could afford to pay will now be open for all local people to use”, said Annamarie Critchard, one of the Labour councillors for Tooting.

The council has agreed to open the playing fields on a trial basis until October 28. Councillor Critchard said: “We want the trial to be a success, so please visit the playing fields and send your all-important feedback to the council by emailing”. Continue reading “Fishponds playing field in Tooting opens to the public after 6 year campaign”