Demand for democratic control in new Integrated Care System for NHS and social care dominates Devon County Council cabinet discussion

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A passionate demand by Labour Councillor, Hilary Ackland (below), for greater democratic control in the new Integrated Care System for health and social care made a major impact as Devon County Council’s Cabinet finally considered the proposals which Hilary Ackland.JPGthe Clinical Commissioning Groups have been developing since September.

Cllr Ackland said that a revamped Health and Wellbeing Board should be an Integrated Commissioning Board with decision-making powers in the new system, and proposed broader, cross-party representation.

I agreed that ‘democratic control is not an optional extra’, and said that governance proposals should be discussed before the Council approved the system. Replying, the opportunity for greater democratic input into the local NHS was emphasised by Chief Executive, Phil Norrey. Conservative Cabinet member, Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, had proposed a paper which agreed that governance issues needed to be addressed but made no specific proposals. The issue will now go to Health Scrutiny, hopefully on 22nd March.

In my speech, I welcomed the CCGs’ retreat from the idea of an Accountable Care Organisation, for which I said the judicial review joined by Stephen Hawking, as well as the hung parliament and local campaigners’ pressure, should take the credit.

  • I also drew attention to uncertainty about how the financial organisation of the new system will impact on chronic failures of patient care.
  • I warned that attempts to equalise funding between areas of the county could lead to even sharper cuts in Eastern Devon.
  • I pointed out that the CCGs, even after 6 months, had failed to produce a single paper describing the Local Care Partnerships which are a key element of the system.
  • The paper called for ‘public engagement’ – but there has been none, and even councillors do not understand the proposals.

I called for a delay in decisions until fuller information on all these points, as well as governance, was available. But the Cabinet unanimously adopted the proposals as they stood – the issues will go to Scrutiny before coming to full Council.

The debate is at 1.44, resumed at 2.22, in the webcast.

Foster carers and Exmouth breastfeeding group protest cuts at Devon County Council

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foster carersAbout twenty Devon County Council foster carers came to support four of their number who addressed the council (left) over changes to their contracts which they say will stop them from being able to continue in their work. (At the budget meeting, Independents had proposed extra funding for foster care rather than increasing reserves.)

breastfeeding petition

Just before this, a representative of Busom Buddies Breastfeeding Support Group in Exmouth presented a petition with 600 signatures to Leader John Hart (right), calling on the Council to restore funding for their full-time worker who is essential for the valuable work the group does in helping mothers who have difficulty with breastfeeding.

Conservative complacency on rural broadband roll-out on display at Devon County Council

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Devon County Council managed not to spend £2 million it was supposed to contribute to Connecting Devon and Somerset’s roll-out of broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural areas, because CDS didn’t need the money. When I pointed out that many people were having to wait far too long, and asked if the money couldn’t be used to speed things up, Conservative Cabinet Member Cllr Stuart Barker said that that was up to CDS, not Devon County Council to decide.

Devon County Council underspends on social care because it can’t get enough staff – Cabinet member claims it’s ‘good management’!

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At today’s Devon County Council Cabinet meeting, significant underspends on several areas of social care were reported due to staff shortages and staff vacancies. While I together with Labour and LibDem councillors suggested – as officers had told us previously – that this raised serious concerns about whether the Council was able to deliver the services needed, and whether it was getting staff and pay levels right, Conservative Cabinet member, Councillor Andrew Leadbetter said it was testimony to ‘good management’.

Reminder – Seaton and Area Health Matters meeting in Seaton Town Hall on Friday 23rd from 9.

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A reminder to all involved in local community groups, especially those with an interest in health and wellbeing in the broadest senses, that Seaton and Area Health Matters will convene in the Town Hall on Friday 23rd March, 9 for 9.30 until 1 pm. There is still time to register!

Book here:  (right click on link to open)

You are invited to participate in this community led event with key stakeholders around the future health and wellbeing of all the people in our communities, in response to the new landscape affecting Seaton and surrounding area as a result of NHS and Government policies advocating Place-Based Care in health provision and cross-sector collaborative working with community groups

The aim: To discuss what we know, where there are gaps/challenges and how, as a community we will address these to ensure collaborative approaches to co-design and co-produce local health services/activities that meet the needs of all the people in our communities.

Invitees: Management and senior level employees and volunteers / trustees from community, voluntary and social enterprise sector as well as public and private organisations.

Area to include: Seaton, Colyford & Colyton, Beer, Axmouth, Branscombe


Welcome: Mayor of Seaton – Cllr Jack Rowland

Community Context:
• Dr Mark Welland – Chairman of Seaton & District Hospital League of Friends
• Roger Trapani – Community Representative, Devon Health and Care Forum
• Charlotte Hanson – Chief Officer, Action East Devon

Strategic and Services Overview – Place Based Care:
• Em Wilkinson-Bryce – Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
• Chris Entwistle – Health and Social Care Community Services
• Dr Jennie Button – Social Prescribing Lead – Ways 2 Wellbeing project in Seaton

Workshop, Networking and Discussion will form the main part of this event:
• Workshop 1 – What is working well and what are the challenges for Seaton and surrounding area?
• Workshop 2 – Working together to improve health and wellbeing outcomes? What support do we need?

If you would like further information please contact –

Sarah Reeves
Development Officer

Shocking that consultants who led the Devon NHS ‘Success Regime’ have been given award for closing community hospital beds by @HSJnews – boasting that they avoided a referral to the Health Secretary

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We are trying to move on and secure the best provision of community health services in the Seaton and Honiton areas – in partnership with the RD&E and CCG – after the flawed ‘consultation’ which resulted in our hospitals losing their beds.

3035974_HSL-Partnership-Awards-LogoHowever Carnall Farrar, the consultancy set up by Dame Ruth Carnall – who was also the chair of the Orwellian-named Success Regime – has won the Health Service Journal’s Partnership Award as ‘Consultancy of the Year’ for their work including the closure of community beds.

The citation, which does not mention Carnall’s position as chair, says: ‘A key area of work has been reducing the number of fit-to-leave patients in community hospital beds, which would pave the way to reduce beds. This has been achieved through developing community-based models of care, with clinical hubs and health and wellbeing centres.’ – No one seems to have told them that we have yet to see our health and wellbeing centres!

To rub salt into the wound, it concludes: ‘These changes have been managed without referral to the health secretary and with Carnall Farrar standing alongside local leaders at public meetings.’ – If this is what the award is for, surely it should have gone to East Devon Conservatives who scotched the referral? Or did Carnall Farrar do behind-the-scenes deals with our local Tory politicians?

An FoI request showed Carnall Farrar were paid over £600,000 for their work (in addition to Ruth Carnall’s salary). But they have since gained over £6 million for cutting services in Kent!

Our NHS is at risk from Theresa May’s chaotic, economically damaging, intolerant Brexit – why I’m marching with Devon for Europe in Exeter on 24th March

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680x340-sw_march_rally_final_1000-editMost Seaton & Colyton voters supported Brexit in 2016. Across East Devon, 56 per cent backed Leave, 44 per cent Remain. But people didn’t vote to make the country poorer, or to damage the NHS.

Yet that’s where we’re heading, and as County Councillor I have to speak out, even if many voters and some of my own supporters may disagree. I am not going to follow the example of Neil Parish MP, who knows that Brexit is bad for Devon and Britain but refuses to come out publicly.

There is now no doubt that – especially since Theresa May has chosen to the Single Market and Customs Union as well as the EU itself – Brexit will seriously damage the UK’s economy. Devon, with its reliance on sectors like farming, tourism and universities, and with more of its cities’ exports going to Europe than anywhere else in the UK, will be badly hit.

I was elected because people were concerned about our local NHS – I can tell you that, far from there being more money for the NHS when we leave, there will be much less, as the  slowing of the economy is already cutting tax receipts which means less money all round.  The NHS locally and nationally is suffering from chronic staff shortages – yet the intolerant image presented by Brexit to the outside world has already cut off the flow of European nurses which helps keep it going. The fall in the value of the pound is even seeing care workers from non-EU countries heading home. Withdrawing from the European Medicines Agency threatens our access to the newest medicines.

Therefore I will be proud to march with the thousands of people from all over the South West, young and old, in Exeter on 24th March, to give a wake-up call to people before this looming disaster for our country becomes irreversible. Set off at noon, Belmont Park, Exeter, EX1 2HG and march to Bedford Street, Princesshay, Exeter, EX1 1LR for the rally. Event finishes at approximately 3pm.