Dr Onkar Sahota AM was first elected as the member of the London Assembly for Ealing and Hillingdon in May 2012.
Arriving with his family in 1961, Onkar’s family first lived in Hayes in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Originally from the Punjab, India, his parent settled in the UK in order to provide a better future for their children as with hundreds of other families of that generation.
His father first worked for British Airways at Heathrow as a maintenance worker, eventually establishing a local grocery business. His early experiences have instilled Onkar with a passion for ensuring opportunities for others to succeed, as well as the value of aspiration.
Fulfilling a lifelong ambition, Onkar graduated in 1989 from Sheffield University Medical School. He also holds an MBA from the London Business School, having also attended the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
A practicing GP, Onkar has been a family doctor in West London since 1989 and maintains GP surgeries in Hanwell and Southall serving some 12,000 patients. Like many clinicians who have been elected to public office, he continues to practice part-time in order to retain his licence to practice.
Professionally, Onkar in addition to his work as a family doctor was a member of the Ealing Primary Care Trust Professional Executive Committee from 2002-2008. From 1997 to 2000 he undertook work funded by the Department for International Development in Russia and Uzbekistan on reform of Primary Care, and advised the Heathrow City Regeneration Partnership on health and community projects.
At the Assembly, Onkar is Labour’s spokesperson for Health, chairing the Health Committee. With a keen interest in the delivery of Crossrail and High Speed 2 within his constituency, as well as the Davies Commission and the future of Heathrow, he also sits on the GLA Oversight Committee.
Mental health is rightly moving up the agenda in London. The Mayor of London has launched Thrive LDN, a city-wide movement, to raise awareness and challenge the stigmatisation of mental health issues. But does it ignore offenders and ex-offenders?
London should be a city where everyone is supported and no one is stigmatised because of their health condition. We can all do our bit to learn how to implement the small changes that make a big difference to the life of someone with dementia.
Most important of all we need to listen to what the disabled and Deaf are telling us themselves. Real improvements can only come from listening to and respecting those living with disability and living with mental health problems - those who have experienced the service and know what has worked well and what hasn't.
We need to back our call for action with solid data and a focus on partnership working between the various strands of the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector. Only then can we hope to reduce the number of suicides in London.
Despite 25 years of increasing acceptance and visibility, too many young LGBT+ people are entering adulthood severely damaged by the internal and external homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia they face. We need to ensure that mental health services are fit for the next generation of LGBT+ people
Tessa has an exciting but achievable vision for getting London to build more homes. Her Homes for Londoners proposal would see London building again for the first time since the 1980s, starting on the Mayor's own land. This would make developments like Old Oak Common, where I have campaigned for a greater number of affordable homes, a much better deal for Londoners.
A Mayor who has shown acquiescence towards health inequalities, a cost driven reorganisation of the NHS, and a funding cut dressed as a funding freeze. We should be stopping these knee jerk and flawed A&E closures and planning strategically in London. A crisis in the NHS isn't looming, it's here right now.
Childcare professionals know that for many parents, the cost of childcare is so high that they will never go back to work because it simply does not pay for them to do so. The London Assembly's report stated that 63% of working parents said the cost of childcare had affected their decision about whether or not to work, and 73% said it affected how many hours they worked.
Whilst the Mayor may not be in the business of running healthcare services, he does have a responsibility to combat health inequalities. There couldn't be a bigger health inequality than some communities having access to great quality services, whilst others are forced to suffer the burden of travelling tens of miles to access services that they should be able to get locally.
07/03/2013 13:11 GMT
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