The Mayor of London's health-related responsibilities may be limited, but that has not stopped Sadiq Khan promising to be the first City Hall head to provide "real leadership" for NHS services in the capital. The Labour hopeful also plans to warn that the health service in London is in crisis when he delivers a speech on the issue on 19 April.
"Waiting times in A&Es are rising, with some even turning patients away. Ambulance response times are endangering lives. Mental health services are simply unable to cope and cuts to social care services mean Londoners aren't receiving the early support they need to avoid hospital admissions," Khan will declare.
The City Hall front-runner, using data obtained from a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, is also expected to point to a combined £500m ($713m) deficit for London's hospital trusts for the end of 2015, up from £132m in 2010/11 when the Conservatives first gained power.
Khan will also criticise the Tories for abolishing NHS London – the strategic management body for health services in the capital – and will add: "It means London's health and social care system simply doesn't have the strategic planning and coordination it needs. So as Mayor, I will fill that vacuum."
A spokesperson for Zac Goldsmith told IBTimes UK: "It's only by working to get the best deal from government that the Mayor can deliver for Londoners' health. Zac's Action Plan for Greater London sets out real policies, rather than Khan's divisive posturing."
The Mayor of London and London Assembly currently have limited powers when it comes to health. City Hall can seek to reduce the level of health inequalities, promote well-being improvements as well as implementing a range of policies around nutrition, travel and exercise. But the NHS is outside the mayor's remit.
However, Chancellor George Osborne announced an NHS devolution plan for London in December. The deal, between City Hall, London councils and the government, will see five pilot schemes launched to see if the capital can run integrated health and social care services by 2020.