New evidence that Brexit is harming NHS staffing – but Devon County Council has no figures for the local situation

Posted on Updated on

 

 

There is new evidence that Brexit is adding to the NHS’s chronic staff shortage. Far fewer nurses and doctors from other EU countries are coming for jobs in the UK, while many of those already here are leaving – or plan to leave.

Locally, the RD&E is struggling to recruit care workers for the ‘new model of care’ to replace community beds. Council officers freely admit that Brexit is making Devon’s social care recruitment crisis worse, and at the County Council meeting on 5th October I asked for figures on the number of people from other EU countries in health, social care and education in the county. The answer was that the Council can’t produce them – in a follow-up question I asked the Cabinet to remedy that, and also to reassure EU citizens that they are valued here.

Many people voted for Brexit partly to help the NHS – but are now realising that it is doing the opposite. Of course the Leave campaign said that it wanted to allow professionals like nurses and doctors still to come to Britain – it was more the unskilled workers it wanted to stop (although where that would leave our farming and tourism industries is another problem). What this argument overlooked is that doctors and nurses who move here are not just making a decision about a job – they are looking at whether the country is open and welcoming. The message that Britain didn’t want foreigners went out loud and clear to the people we need to keep our NHS going, as well as everyone else.

Leave voters rightly hoped to see more money go to our underfunded NHS. However it is now universally recognised that the Leave campaign’s idea of saving ‘£350 million a week’ was utterly misleading. Much of the money never goes to the EU (because of the rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher) and most of the rest comes back to support things like agriculture, scientific research and regional development in places like the South West – expenditure that the British government will need to replace. Recently it has become clear that the economy has fallen back since the referendum to the extent that the Government is already losing much more in tax revenues than it will eventually save by leaving the EU. So the NHS has no hope of gaining money from Brexit, and is hit on the staffing side too.

‘Local policing’ review highlights funding crisis driving loss of PCSOs – neighbourhood services may rely on Specials and volunteers

Posted on

Last week I took part in, as a member of a Devon County Council scrutiny committee,  a ‘spotlight review’ on ‘local policing’ attended by senior officers including the Chief Constable. Local policing, it was explained, is different from neighbourhood policing as it is delivered by officers behind computers in headquarters and other specialists, some of whom will not be uniformed, as well as on the beat in a neighbourhood. The planned drastic reductions in the numbers of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are part of this transition, and the police made it clear that while they are not happy with this, they see it as the inevitable consequence of reduced funding. If there is any hope of keeping up the level of neighbourhood policing it may lie, it was suggested, in recruiting an increased number of Specials with a neighbourhood brief, and other volunteers.

I am a member of the scrutiny committee’s panel which will produce recommendations from this review. Without prejudging our discussion, it is safe to say that there was general agreement that there is a huge gap between how the police see their role and how local communities see it. I will let you know if we find ways of bridging it!

Vote for solar panels for Colyton Library

Posted on

Please vote for Colyton Library in the Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund by clicking   HERE

We need your vote. Colyton Library has the opportunity to win £4,500 funding for solar panels. As you may know the library building now belongs to Colyton Parish Council. The running costs and maintenance costs will be split between The Friends of Colyton Library and Libraries Unlimited. Solar panels will provide free electricity and a small income.

PLEASE VOTE !!!!!!!!!!

If you have any problems go to http://www.mandsenergyfund.com and select the region Devon and Dorset

Green MP asks for crucial safeguards with new NHS Accountable Care Organisation contracts

Posted on Updated on

Photo of Caroline LucasCaroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

‘To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether safeguards are in place to ensure that the new model Accountable Care Organisation contract, published by NHS England in August 2017, will not result in fewer NHS services being provided than under the traditional NHS standard contract; and if he will make a statement.’

See her follow-up question and minister’s evasive answer.

NHS Chair: “We are more scared than we have ever been. We have the strong likelihood of hospitals being inundated with people suffering flu.”

Posted on

The chairman of NHS England, Prof Sir Malcolm Grant, speaking at the national children and adult services conference in Bournemouth yesterday, said: “We face winter better prepared than we have ever been, but more scared than we have ever been. We have the strong likelihood of hospitals being inundated with people suffering flu.”

Still the right moment to have closed our community hospital beds?

Meeting plans to secure remedial measures for Wilmington, to tame the A35’s damaging effects on the village

Posted on Updated on

Third-crash-1Last Thursday I arrived late for a meeting with the A35 Action Group in Wilmington. There had been yet another crash on the eastern side of the village (after a spate of crashes on the road in the summer: image from Devon Live).

There are problems all along this road but Wilmington’s situation is particularly bad. There is not a single pedestrian crossing and many parts of the village don’t even have pavements, although huge volumes of traffic, including large numbers of heavy goods vehicles, pass through – often at excessive speed – at all times. The situation is a scandal and I will join Neil Parish MP and representatives of Widworthy Parish Council and the Action Group to meet Highways England later this month to request urgent implementation of a series of remedial measures.