Public services across Surrey start cuts debate

image captionNHS Surrey said the impact of an ageing population would have to be taken into account

Residents in Surrey are being asked how they want changes to public services to be implemented following the government's spending cuts.

Ahead of the ahead of Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday, the county's public sector organisations have launched a Have Your Say campaign.

Surrey Police, NHS Surrey, the county council and borough and district councils are taking part.

A website has been launched and a public debate is to be held next month.

"Difficult decisions will have to be made by all of us in the public sector over the next few years," said Surrey County Council (SCC) leader Andrew Povey.

"A lot has already been done but the gravity of the national financial position means much more change will be necessary.

"It is vital residents feel they are getting value for money from their public services and it is therefore essential that they have their say on what changes take place."

'Work together'

SCC has already been told it must save £180m over the next four years and has identified more than £60m savings this financial year.

"So many public services are interdependent that it is sensible that we work together," said Dr Povey.

"This will ensure we avoid duplicating work unnecessarily and make sure any changes have as little adverse impact on residents as possible."

Chairman of NHS Surrey David Clayton-Smith said radical change would be needed in the county because of the impact of an ageing population and the cost of new, expensive drugs.

Surrey Police said it was committed to protecting frontline services but had to manage shrinking resources.

"We are now undertaking radical plans for change at the force, including reducing the number of senior officers, doing away with the old divisional structure and replacing expensive and little-used police stations with more accessible and cost-effective alternatives," said police authority chairman Peter Williams.

"Understanding what the public want is central to how we work and we go to great efforts to engage with residents."

The Have Your Say debate will be on 18 November at Salesian School, Chertsey at 1900 GMT.

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