Poor could be left on 'wrong side of the tracks' following multi-billion pound Nine Elms regeneration, health bosses warn
Millions must be found to prevent some of Wandsworth's poorest being left unable to access healthcare when a multi-billion pound regeneration project takes place.
Doctors in charge of Wandsworth’s health services have raised a series of concerns about healthcare for the most deprived people in the Nine Elms Vauxhall (NEV) area as it undergoes a redevelopment involving the creation of 18,276 homes and an influx of 34,118 new people by 2030.
A report submitted to Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group (WCCG) say the NEV area will need 19 new GPs, an increase of health services by about six per cent, additional capital spending of about £35.6m and additional revenue funding of £115m by 2030 to cope.
A map by WCCG showing the physical barriers to movement
They warn a failure to obtain adequate funding will lead to ‘massive pressure’ on services, with the poorest left unable to access any new provision.
The report, compiled by regional health bosses, said: "A major concern for commissioners is that the existing deprived population will not benefit from any new NEV healthcare estate simply because they live on the wrong side of the existing barriers to movement (i.e. the Thames and the two railway lines).
"Any capital requirements to upgrade facilities for the existing population will need to be funded by the NHS."
Areas in the NEV include Queenstown Ward, in Wandsworth, which has one of the most deprived lower super output areas, the term used for small pockets of populations, in the UK, and four more in the worst 40 per cent ntaionally.
Bishop’s Ward, Oval Ward, Prince’s Ward and Stockwell Ward, in Lambeth, between them have 13 areas in the "most deprived" category.
Planners at both Wandsworth and Lambeth councils have made it clear there is limited funding available for community infrastructure and most will be used to fund the Northern Line Extension.
This will lead to fierce competition for the remaining funds with healthcare commissioners aware they need to present a ‘very strong case’ for why their current financial allocations will not meet the new requirements.
Councillor Mark Thomas, opposition speaker for the adult care health overview and scrutiny committee, said: "It is going to be really bad news for the development if we don’t get this right and bad news for the NHS, as well, if we fail to put in place community health services needed - it is going to generate more pressure already on over stretched A&E departments.
"You can’t just put bricks and mortar in place - you need the supporting services too."
Work has already started on the site
A spokesperson for NHS England said the capital's GP services were already under increasing pressure, with a growing and changing population, more people living with long-term conditions and variations in the quality of services across the capital.
They added: "The current development plans for the Nine Elms Vauxhall area suggest an increase in population of around 35,000 over a fifteen year period.
"This will have an impact on health services in the area, and we are working with local Clinical Commissioning Groups and other partners to ensure that the healthcare needs of local people, both newcomers and existing communities, are met."
Dr Nicola Jones, chairwoman of Wandsworth CCG, said: "We have to make sure that the services in and around the development provide the best possible level of care for the people moving into the new developments, and our existing communities. Once that work is completed we will work hard to ensure we have the right level of resource to deliver what is needed."
A council spokesman said: "Working with our partners - including the NHS - we are forecasting changes in demand and planning public services to ensure they keep pace with local needs.
"Communities in and around Nine Elms stand to benefit enormously from the this new investment. The local environment is being greatly improved and thousands of training and job opportunities are now being created on their doorsteps.
"The council and its partners are working extremely hard to ensure people living close by are the first to benefit and will share in the area’s revival."
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