Case for change

In south east London, we have some very good health services. People are living longer and many people are healthier. But we also have some services that could be better.

We have services that people find hard to access. Some people do not get the help they need to keep themselves and their families healthy.


We are trying to address a number of challenges, many of them common to other areas and some specific to south east London.

Ill health

The way in which NHS services are provided today does not take account of changes in the population since the health service was created. People are living longer than ever before and there have been huge advances in medicine and treatments for various conditions.

While this is good news, it means that the NHS is now treating many more people than ever before. The population is getting older and many more people are living with long term conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and mental illnesses. Read more


Too often, the quality of care that patients receive and the outcome of their treatment depend on when and where they access health services. For example, we do not always provide the recommended level of cover by senior doctors in services dealing with emergency care, maternity or children.

People taken ill at weekends or in the evenings are less likely to see a senior doctor in hospital. Read more


While patients are very happy with some services, surveys tell us that their experience of the NHS is inconsistent and that they do not always receive the care they want. For example, some patients find it difficult to get a GP appointment or feel that they do not have enough information about their condition.

Too often, planned operations are cancelled. Read more

Local needs

South east London has a diverse and mobile population, with extremes of deprivation and wealth.

A high proportion of our 1.67 million people live in areas that are among the most deprived in England, while a smaller proportion live in the most affluent areas. Four of the six boroughs (Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich) rank amongst the 15% most deprived local authority areas in the country. Read more


Although NHS funding currently increases in line with inflation each year, the costs of providing care are rising much faster. This is because the NHS is now treating more people with more complex conditions than ever before, while the costs of medicines are increasing.

All major political parties have made it clear that sustained and substantial increases in NHS funding are unlikely for the foreseeable future, which means that we need to do things differently if we are to deliver the best possible care for patients in the years ahead. Read more

Social care

Many local councils face unprecedented pressures on their resources and in some instances are looking to save over 30% of their current expenditure between 2015 and 2019. Adult social care forms a large percentage of any local authority budget and these services are expected to reduce spending and find more cost effective ways of working, while maintaining safe, high quality services. Read more