Month: March 2018
Following news a couple of weeks ago that the Dermatology clinic in Seaton Hospital had been closed, whether permanently or not is not clear (it was GP-led and the GP stopped doing it, I am told), comes the information that Dermatology appointments are not currently available in Axminster, either. You have to go to Exeter, where they’re booking for June.
This is one of the most highly used specialities in both hospitals and it is a serious setback that it is not available locally!
Save Our Hospital Services demonstrating outside CCG and Health Scrutiny at County Hall on Thursday 22nd
How the private sector is helped to burrow deep into the NHS – today’s email from the Health Service Journal
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I learnt this week that the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital has been renamed the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, now that the NHS has finally withdrawn funding for homeopathy’s wholly unproven treatments.
Meanwhile on 1st April, Devon’s CCGs will launch what was supposed to be an Accountable Care System (ACS) for the NHS and social care. Now it too has been rebranded as an ‘Integrated Care System’ – because ‘accountable care’ smacks of an American-style Accountable Care Organisation which could have opened all of Devon’s NHS to being run by a single private provider.
If it walks like a duck … quack! quack! seems particularly appropriate.
Demand for democratic control in new Integrated Care System for NHS and social care dominates Devon County Council cabinet discussion
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 the 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.
About 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.)
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.