Surrey is not as wealthy or healthy as many people think it is, says the county council’s leader.
Speaking at Surrey’s Health and Wellbeing Board recently Tim Oliver said: “Many people see Surrey as a leafy, wealthy and healthy county and for a huge part of it that is the case.
“But there are huge parts of significant pockets of deprivation.”
However, David Munro – Surrey’s Police & Crime Commissioner contradicted him saying – Surrey is a wealthy community – and should be doing more to deal with its drug-related problems.
With 1.1 million people living in Surrey, it is still one of the most densely populated shire counties in England with “pockets of deprivation”.
Figures show there are over 23,000 children in Surrey living in poverty and 10,600 five to 15-year-olds have a mental health disorder. It has an ageing population, with dementia a particular issue.
In the next 10 years, the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to rise by 18% and the number of carers aged 85 and over will increase by 31%. Data from the strategy states that in 2015 approximately one in 25 people aged over 65 lived in care homes in Surrey with the figure expected to rise by 60% by 2030.
However, he failed to mention that the vast number of those living in Surrey’s care homes not only fund their own care but also subsidise huge numbers of other under-funded county council- residents’ packages of care!
He claimed the county had missed out on funding in the past because areas of deprivation were not always seen and hoped that a review of Fairer Funding for local authorities taking this into account would open up more funding channels for Surrey.
He said the “strong average performance” of people leading healthier lives in the county masks areas where there was inequality.
He also fails to mention the large number of Surrey residents who fund their own private healthcare! And, who work for free, and support the large voluntary sector.
Criticising the Council’s 10-year Strategy, David Munro, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said it did not do enough to tackle the effect of drugs.
He said: “The effect of drugs is not given the priority it clearly needs. We all know drugs are a danger to the user, a danger to their family and friends and a danger to the community. We have a duty as a wealthy community in Surrey to stamp on this much more than we have been doing.”
However, Helen Atkinson, director of public health, said drugs were prioritised in the plan which looked at tackling substance misuse including the “huge problem” of alcohol use in the county.