… but they didn’t publish my letter in reply to Cllr Paul Diviani’s comments about the CCG and the NHS
Here is what I sent in:
‘Cllr Paul Diviani, Conservative Leader of East Devon District Council (Midweek Herald, 23 August) says that complaints about his role in Devon County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee are “entirely politically motivated”. This comment insults everyone who hoped that the Committee – the only local democratic body with power to decide about the decisions of NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group – would help save the beds in Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton hospitals.
‘A few months back, Cllr Diviani appeared to understand people’s concerns. On 16 April he even gave £50 towards a judicial review of the Honiton closure, writing, “If they persist in this drastic action we will all be the worse for it.” But at the time, Cllr Diviani’s party faced elections.
‘Now he feels free to show his true colours, betraying his Council’s stated policy and casting the decisive vote which blocks any reference of the hospital closures to the Secretary of State. He said that this would be pointless, because the closures were Jeremy Hunt’s own policy. However he knows that a referral would have required Mr Hunt to decide whether the matter should be examined by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, potentially leading to a reversal of the CCG’s policy.
‘Cllr Diviani also attacks “the tendency to assume … that the Government will keep throwing money at the NHS as they always have in the past.” He forgets that only fifteen months ago leading members of his party, such as Boris Johnson, promised no less than £350 million a week extra for the NHS.
‘We now know that this promise was a fraud, but the NHS’s need for extra money is real. The Royal College of Physicians estimates that it requires 4% extra in real terms per year, due to our growing and ageing population and advances in medicine. Most of this money would still be needed even if we could save the extra managerial costs caused by the Government’s NHS reorganisation, which created the CCG and other new quangos. However according to Sir Simon Stevens, Head of NHS England, the Government has made no real increase at all in the NHS budget for 2017-18 and 2018-19. This is the underlying reason for NEW Devon CCG’s financial crisis, for the sake of which they are sacrificing our community hospitals.
‘East Devon residents expect the leader of EDDC to stand up for us, not ignore our views. Cllr Diviani has confirmed that it is he who is politically motivated, putting the Conservative Government before justice for local communities.’
Independent councillors are proposing a motion of no confidence in Cllr Diviani at EDDC on 13 September.