Children looking out of window
Children looking out of window

Daily we read or hear of the unfunded public sector struggling to provide essential services at a time of economic crisis when they are most needed. Failure by the government to invest over the last ten years and cuts to hard pressed workforces have brought national and local public services to a potential state of collapse.

For Gloucestershire residents the situation seems even more critical.

Gloucestershire Constabulary has been judged inadequate in a wide range of areas including the protection of vulnerable people and how it investigates crime.

Gloucestershire Fire Service has been judged inadequate in keeping people secure and safe from fire and other risks, as well as having a “bad culture” in the service.

South West Ambulance Service is struggling with poor 999 response times made worse by delays to hand over patients at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which was judged to have the second worse hand over time in the country. This problem is made worse by patients waiting to find places in our hard pressed social care system. Yet Gloucestershire County Council has announced plans to close four care homes in the county.

Maternity services in Gloucestershire were judged inadequate last month with a shortage of staff putting mothers and babies at risk, and with staff expressing concerns about the culture, safety and quality of the service provided.

For many years Children’s Services at Gloucestershire County Council were judged inadequate in their support of the most vulnerable young people, with a recent inspection stating that they still required improvement.

Trying to book a GP or an NHS dentist appointment is a source of frustration for many across our county as well.

The public sector workers in all these areas are caring and hardworking but face a daily battle to cope with a lack of resources and inadequate staffing levels. Taxes are at their highest level for 40 years, so where is our money going if not to support these vital services?

And why do Gloucestershire residents accept such poor provision of essential services?

Malcolm Bride

This article appeared in the Gloucestershire Echo, 25 August 2022



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