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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  1. My wife (recovered breast cancer, annual check) benefited from the Boley Park screening, but she is horrified that LDC were meeting costs. Fund the NHS properly!

  2. Totally agree John. I’ve benefited using that mobile screening unit and been grateful for the amazing staff there. My outcome could have been different without it.
    I too I’m horrified that an application has been submitted to Lichfield City Council nor should they grant the funding. Fund the NHS properly so that required services are provided.

  3. Missing the point entirely here and playing g political games on NHS funding – shameful. These are a great resource and preventative care is paramount to the survival of people and the health service . This Cllr is a shameful in her views.

    Cllr Alastair Little
    Lichfield District Cllr

  4. The council should not have to pay for the electricity. Where will it all end. What will be asked for next time.?

  5. No, Councillor Little, it is not a game. What next, a raffle and tombola to fund the NHS? What is shameful is the underfunding of the health service we all need and pay for.

    Another shameful thing is your cynical attempt to silence your critics by accusing them of engaging in politics – well, shock horror, without political action and struggle we wouldn’t have an NHS. Your party was opposed to the creation of the NHS in 1948 and cannot be trusted to safeguard its future.

  6. Cllr Alistair Little. You state that the point is missed in the article and political games are then being played but you then do not offer up a defense of why this should be acceptable for local councils to plug the gap that central govt creates? Essentially, as I see it, as tax paying citizens we are paying twice for our NHS. Please explain why it’s acceptable, so that both sides to the argument can be heard.

  7. It is very much appreciated that the NHS provide this service at hospitals – they are locally asked for by County council, funded nationally and locally to reach all CCG targets in Staffordshire. Local mobile units are part of a preventative service , which is targeted and to which areas transport links are difficult or where appointment are missed due to the nature of it being preventative and some do not see the need early enough to get tested. Finding cancer early saves lives . The cost to provide a mobile is absorbed into the NHS funding and is adequately funded but the additional service to bring local service is expensive yet willingly offered by the NHS . However the local Cll showing they are supportive of this and see the life saving Nature of the work is admirable. The money spent is excellent value shows local support to keep the service name questioning this is in my opinion a need to resign for this Cllr

  8. Well it comes as no surprise that Cllr Little is a Tory. Any relation to Liz? The fallback position of these people whenever they feel criticised is to accuse their critics of playing political games to distract people from looking at their own appalling record. The sooner the Tories get kicked out locally and nationally the sooner we can get a sensible and accountable government. Surely the people have seen what a shower the Tories are by now? Fund the NHS properly and we wouldn’t have such ridiculous situations.

  9. Why the change?, this unit has been coming to the car park at “Boley Park Coop” for years, what has been the arrangement in the past?, have they had a generator for power or has it always been supplied from the “Community Centre” and been recharged to the NHS, also do the Coop charge to have the unit in their car park or is it a gesture from them that allows them to use the site free of charge

  10. Cllr Little – for a Conservative to accuse another party of playing political games with the NHS is hypocrisy of the first order. After the debacle of the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic by the “f***ing hopeless” Matt Hancock (the Prime Minister’s words, not mine), we are now faced with the prospect of the NHS being headed by someone whose mismanagement of Track and Trace has “spaffed up the wall” (another favourite phrase of our beloved de Piffle Johnson) billions of pounds, and who is married to someone whose aim is to complete the defunding of the NHS and introduce a system on the model of the USA – one which will enrich the few and impoverish the many. How can these not be seen as “political games”?
    While I voted to provide the Community Centre with the money to meet the additional cost of hosting the screening unit, I did so with reluctance, and not out of any belief that this should be a precedent. Successive defunding, asset stripping, and handing of healthcare businesses which should rightfully be public services to Tory cronies or American corporations, are in my view unacceptable, as they are to Councillor Rapley and my fellow Liberal Democrats.

  11. This is the kind of issue Fabricant should be raising in Parliament, not choral music.

    The man is a joke.

  12. Cllr Rapley has got this bang-on correct.

    It’s the job of central government to fund the NHS, not councils, community groups, and so-on.

    I am sure the grant is well meant, but it is wrong in principle. Besides, I’m sure the women who run the mobile breast screening unit could hot-wire the meter for a day or two.

  13. Shall we look at in a different way. Why cannot the electricity utilities contribute to the electricity charges as a goodwill gesture for the community as a whole?

  14. Well said, David Betts, a good idea to solve what is essentially an easy problem until the NHS is funded properly. The real issue is that the NHS should pay for the electricity but it is good that some councillors are willing to use council funds to save a facility that is of enormous benefit to women in the area. Whichever happens we pay for it out of our taxes just as we pay for both the NHS and our local councils. Problem is that the policy of continuing austerity has denuded the NHS and local councils of funds since 2010, whilst the government has wasted £zillions on both PPE contracts to their friends, relatives and supporters and on the “world beating” test, track and trace fiasco led by Dido Harding. A relatively few quid from those contracts would completely solve the problem of our mobile screening unit for years to come.

  15. The grant is for the NHS electricity. Although Cllr Ashton makes some excellent points the mobile breast screening unit is not being housed at the Community Centre. It’s debatable that it’s even parked on their land. It’s on the car park, and it is hitched up to the CC electricity supply. It could have its own generator. Or we could have a decent local hospital with year round screening facilities. Were it not for Fabricant’s party government we would have public services in public ownership. Fabricant MP does not represent me – he only represents Tories. He’s just voted to take away our rights to peaceful protest and for the abominable Health and Social Care bill that will see Carrie’s & Farage’s dream of insurance based health care like it is in the US. Wake up please Lichfield and stop voting for lobby fodder asset stripping Tories. The MPs are all doing very nicely. The NHS is being stolen from us. And now we face no mask wearing, no social distancing and Covid – with an ever weakening NHS. It should be funded. And not privatised. It’s all about money, as is every single choice this appalling government makes. Tory councillors don’t like their government being criticised, because they presumably support the policies. I wonder how and why they remain members of such a right wing party.

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