If STPs for Lancashire want folk to adopt preventive medicine then they can ruddy well pay for it! TORIES scrapped free swimming at Chorley leisure centre and Brinscall in 2010 reducing the activity levels of those using the free facilities. T
Technically it wasn't free, it was government subsidised by New Labour in 2009 but the Tories scrapped the funding in 2010 as soon as they got to power.
Austerity is an excuse to killThe announcement to remove the funding in 2010 formed part of the Conservative government’s future spending plans, which aimed to reduce the national deficit. What they actually did was to add to the increase in hospital and GP attendances.
Now, in 2018 the same Tory government are pushing for people to 'self care' and use 'prevention' to avoid future illnesses and reduce hospital admissions and attendances at the doctors.
But they can't have it both ways; removing free access to healthy leisure facilities increases chances of more GP and hospital attendances.So if they are serious about preventative medicine they'll need to fund it. Historically, there's little chance of a Conservative government funding free access or vastly reduced concessions to leisure for the unemployed, disabled or unwaged.
This year, in 2018, I'm going too push for free/concessionary access to leisure for EVERYONE who can't afford the ridiculous fees currently charged at local leisure centres.
Councils that subsidise local leisure centres could save the health service money in the longer term by helping people stay fit.
At present, Chorley council claim to be partnered with local leisure centres yet concessionary admission fees at these centres for the disabled or unemployed are still expensive and unaffordable to many.
In a recent news article, the Health & Wellbeing commissioner for Wales Sophie Howe said public bodies, such as councils and the NHS, were now required by law to think in an "integrated way" about the impact of their decisions.
She also said a "national conversation" was needed on whether tax increases were needed for health and social care.
Prevention is better than cure. "For too long we've put health in the category of the health service [and] hospital spending and that's at the acute end, that's where things have actually already gone wrong."
Wales has the 'Future Generations Act' which requires all those public bodies coming together under something called a public services board - to be having exactly those sorts of conversations. So if, because of budget pressures, the local authority is thinking about closing leisure centres they should be having that discussion with other partners [and saying] 'who can help us?
The health of a community depends largely on keeping people fit thus preventing further problems down the line. In England the issue has been overlooked for too long and many people are excluded from physiotherapy and physical activity at their local leisure centres due to high admission costs or annual membership fees. If we are to take preventive medicine seriously this needs to change.
In July 2010 free swimming at Chorley leisure centre and Brinscall was axed.
At the time the Leader of Chorley Council Councillor Peter Goldsworthy said: “Although free swimming was popular in Chorley, all the evidence suggests it had been taken up by people who were already swimming and it wasn’t attracting lots of people to take up the sport".
Ironically, Cllr Goldsworthy then went on to say to encourage these people to continue swimming and keeping themselves fit and healthy at our leisure centres they'll now have to pay.
Surely if people aren't using the free swimming scheme it won't cost anything so why not keep free access open in the event people do? The answer of course is leisure centres need money as a business so they axed the free swimming and introduced charges - and the charges didn't stop at swimming fees either...Free swimming, which was launched nationally in 2009 and funded by the Government, was aimed at getting more people taking part in exercise. Yet as soon as the Tories came to government in 2010 the funding was axed. As mentioned above the announcement to remove the funding formed part of the Tory government’s future spending plans, which aimed to reduce the national deficit.
So on the one hand the Tories in 2010 scrapped a scheme that was helping towards keeping the nation fit and healthy. In 2015 the Tories set out reforms that heavily involve keeping the nation fit using preventative medicines.
They can't have it both ways.The unwaged, disabled, unemployed are all too often forgotten about when it comes to social care and preventive medicine. A healthy nation yields a healthy economy. But the funding must be released to enable this to happen.
Let's all press for the funding - and at the same time kick STP NHS privatisation plans into the long grass where they belong...
Free swimming at Chorley axed [July 2010]