Letter: Legacy of health cuts

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Sir: I was very interested indeed in your article ('A prescription for more than pills', 1 December) regarding the attachment of a social worker to the Upton Practice in Hereford and Worcester.

This scheme is highly commendable but is far from unique. This has been an innovative practice in social services authorities across the country which have recognised the importance of integrating social service and primary health care provision and have attached social workers and other key community workers to GP practices as part of the 'patch-based' social work approach.

Unfortunately, cuts in personal social services and local government spending have resulted in a large number of authorities, ranging from Conservative Westminster to Labour Sheffield, cutting this enterprising and vital aspect of preventive work, at the very time when it is needed most.

The fact that this scheme in Hereford and Worcester is highlighted as 'innovatory' illustrates both the lack of knowledge about good practice in the past and the danger of general cutbacks in local government spending strangling such important initiatives at the very moment when they should be flourishing.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID BLUNKETT

MP for Sheffield Brightside (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

The writer is Opposition Spokesman for Health.

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