Advice to London pensioners (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
November 20, 2013
Question By: 
Onkar Sahota
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Mr Mayor, we have heard the difficult decision pensioners will have to make this winter between heating and eating and there already is a group of people who are at increased risk of unnecessary winter deaths this winter.  We already know that too many older people are admitted through accident and emergency departments (A&Es) in London, putting even more pressure on overworked doctors and nurses and understaffed hospitals.  The elderly are a big reason why we have long waiting list and that half the time we have failed to treat patients within four hours.  That is almost 200,000 people who have not been treated in London within the four-hour target.


Mr Mayor, you met the Secretary of State [Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health] on 5 November 2013.  Did you discuss with him the energy crisis in London and what reassurances did he give you that London will be safe this winter?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Advice to London pensioners (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Advice to London pensioners (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Obviously, I make repeated representations, Onkar, as indeed I know you do, about healthcare in London by making sure that London gets a fair deal and gets fair support.  That is one of the reasons why we have set up the London Health Board and why we have asked Lord Darzi [Chair, London Health Commission] to look into London healthcare.  It is very important that we stick up for the needs of our city but, as I said to you and to others many times, it is also important that we have a forward-looking and pragmatic approach on reforms and on A&Es.  What we want to do is ensure that we have the best possible service for Londoners and we reduce deaths.


Dr Onkar Sahota (AM):  Mr Mayor, I want to concentrate on the A&E crisis this winter.  You may be aware that the Health Select Committee [of the House of Commons] called for an urgent care board to have in place this winter plans by 30 September.  Given that you have made appropriate resourcing for London’s health economy, one of the key priorities of the London Health Board - which meets in private and which you chair - have you examined the plans for the A&E departments this winter?  Have you examined them?  Has the Health Board examined them?  Are you able to give reassurances that you are on top of it?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  We have had discussions already.  I know that if Victoria [Borwick AM, Deputy Mayor of London] were here, she would be intervening now because I know that we have had discussions about our plans for this winter and what we can do to make sure London copes.


Dr Onkar Sahota (AM):  You have personally examined them at the Health Board and you can give reassurances to Londoners?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have not examined the plans of each and every A&E.  That is not my job.  I do not have, as you know, responsibility for healthcare in London.  I think Victoria may be able to confirm this ‑‑


Dr Onkar Sahota (AM):  I was told by NHS London that these plans will not be ready until the end of the month.  If you will not examine them, can you give me a reassurance that you are satisfied they are adequate?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What we have sought is general assurances that the National Health Service (NHS) is confident that it can deal with any problems that it may face this winter.  I think that would be --


Dr Onkar Sahota (AM):  The Health Board has not seen them yet?  You are the Chair, Mr Mayor.  You are the Chair of it.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, but you would not expect me to go over the specifics of NHS plans.


Dr Onkar Sahota (AM):  All I am asking is: have you or has the Board seen them?  You are the Chair of that Board, which meets in private.  I cannot answer the question for you.  Have you seen them?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, but I think I have just answered it for you.  The answer is that we have certainly sought reassurances from the NHS about whether they are happy with the arrangements that are in place for this winter and, to the best of my knowledge, they are.


Dr Onkar Sahota (AM):  Thank you, Mr Mayor.