Month: September 2017

CCG refuses to give details of NHS cuts, Tories block attempts to record concerns – Claire Wright’s account of yesterday’s Health Scrutiny

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Claire Wright, Independent member of Devon’s Health Scrutiny Committee, has given a full account of how the latest meeting revealed the growing crisis in Devon’s NHS, the CCG’s arrogant refusal to give detailed information demanded by councillors, and the obsessive blocking by the committee’s Conservative members of any attempt to record concerns. My proposal about community hospitals, mentioned by Claire at the end of her report, lives for another day, and I will write about it shortly.

I’m making a new proposal to safeguard community stakes in community hospitals, tomorrow at Health Scrutiny

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Here is my briefing note containing the proposal, to be considered at the meeting in County Hall at 2.15;
Ownership, Community Stakeholding and the Governance of Community Hospitals

Community hospitals in Devon have always been built and maintained with a high degree of community involvement and support. In many cases, local communities took the initiative to build the hospitals and raised substantial part of the original funding, or even the entire funding of additional wings and facilities, as well as contributing to staff and other running costs, the introduction of new specialist services, etc.

Unlike Private Finance Initiatives undertaken in partnership with private companies, these ‘community finance initiatives’ – which sought no profit from their investments other than the improvement of the facilities and services they enabled – appear not to have secured their interests in the hospitals they helped to build. The Leagues of Friends and others who raised funds for hospitals trusted that their investments would continue to be used for the benefit of place-based health services in their local area. 

Since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, however, the organisation of the NHS has changed and the ownership of NHS buildings is in the process of being transferred to a new company, NHS Property Services, wholly owned by the Secretary of State and charged with managing the NHS estate in line with national priorities. NHS Property Services is enabled to sell off parts of the estate and to charge NHS organisations market rents for their use of NHS buildings.

This change creates dilemmas for local communities which have invested in Devon community hospitals. Clearly Leagues of Friends and other local bodies, including town and parish councils as representatives of communities which have raised large amounts of funding, can be considered ‘stakeholders’ in community hospitals. However these community stakeholders appear not to possess formal rights in the ownership and governance of the hospitals.

The proposal is that the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny undertake an investigation into

1. The changing ownership and governance of community hospitals in Devon and its implications.

2. The historic and ongoing contributions of local communities and Leagues of Friends to funding the hospitals. 

The purpose of this investigation would be to address the question of

3. How community stakeholders’ interests should be secured in the future governance of community hospitals.

It is envisaged that in the course of this investigation, the Committee would both collect evidence and invite expressions of views from all stakeholders, including both local community organisations and NHS bodies, including NHS Property Services.

Aftermath of the Diviani vote

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I don’t want to comment at length on last week’s confidence vote at EDDC (which I missed while away for a week). I was pleased to hear that there were excellent public speeches, including from Seaton Mayor, Jack Rowland, and that two of Seaton’s councillors, Jim Knight and Peter Burrows, voted ‘no confidence’ in Paul Diviani, whose vote prevented Health Scrutiny from referring the beds decision to the Secretary of State.

I was disappointed to see that our third councillor, Marcus Hartnell, justified support for Diviani, seeing the attacks on him as purely politically motivated (apparently all other local councillors, for Coly Valley, Beer, Trinity and Axminster, also supported Diviani).

I would just like to put on record my belief that no council leader should be able to abandon the communities he represents without paying a high political price. I hope that the no-confidence motion will warn councillors aware that there will be an even greater public reaction, should they fail to block attempts to close any of our community hospitals in the forthcoming CCG Estates Strategy.

Budleigh victory saves hospital garden from Clinton Devon development

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A planning inspector has ruled against Clinton Devon Estates’ attempt to build houses on half of the Budleigh Salterton hospital garden (the hospital is one that has already lost its beds): https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/09/07/clinton-devon-estates-and-budleigh-hospital-garden-a-pr-nightmare-for-today-and-tomorrow/

EDDC Leader faces ‘no confidence’ motion over his vote to condemn Seaton and Honiton hospital beds

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EDDC Leader, Cllr Paul Diviani, will face a vote of ‘no confidence’ next Wednesday, 13 September at a special meeting of the Council, over his vote to block the referral of the CCG’s hospital beds closures to the Secretary of State – which effectively condemned the beds in Seaton, Honiton, Okehampton and Whipton:

  • ‘On Tuesday 25th July 2017, Cllr Diviani chose not to represent the opinions of this Council or the people we represent at the DCC Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting when he was clearly expected to do so. This Council no longer has confidence in Cllr Diviani’s commitment to represent our collective interests nor lead our East Devon communities as the figurehead for local government. We call for his resignation.’

    Proposed by Councillor Ben Ingham, seconded by Councillor Val Ranger and supported by Councillors Cathy Gardner, Matt Coppell, Marianne Rixson, Rob Longhurst, Dawn Manley, Geoff Jung, Peter Faithfull, Susie Bond, Roger Giles, Matt Booth, Peter Burrows, Steve Gazzard, Megan Armstrong and Douglas Hull.

Members of the public can speak for up to 3 minutes each at the beginning of the meeting.

A slightly abridged version of my reply to Cllr Diviani is published in today’s Midweek Herald (below).MW Herald letter Diviani Health Scrutiny