Month: November 2018

Hollowing out the local police service – new plans mean that East Devon will go from 9 to just 5 PCSOs in 2020.

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See this story in the Midweek Herald. Currently just one officer and one PCSO make up the entire police force between Branscombe and the Dorset border. We can’t afford to lose our PCSO!

‘Very high risk’ of market capacity failing to meet Devon’s needs for adult social care, Health Scrutiny will be told on Thursday

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The Adult Care and Health Management Team’s report on Risk Management report to Thursday’s meeting of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee says: ‘one risk has increased to Very High from High, this being “Market Capacity: Adult Social Care (Personal Care)”.

The AC&H team comment:

  • The personal care market capacity remains under pressure across the county with levels of demand exceeding the supply. Where care cannot be sourced an interim contingency plan is always enacted that ensures the safety of any individual and may include temporary accommodation in a residential facility or drawing on other arrangements including informal networks of care and support. The risk is also heightened currently due to increased likelihood of provider failure. Members will be aware of a recent CQC formal notification to local authorities around Allied Healthcare of potential provider failure as an example of this.

    Our mitigating actions in this area which are predicated on joint working across the health and care system include

  1. Support the recruitment and retention of staff (including promotion of our Proud to Care initiative).
  2. Reduce demand on services by promoting and growing our short term offer that supports people back to independence in a timely way.
  3. Achieve greater efficiency by working with our contractors to minimise travelling time and make best use of our existing workforce.

CCG proposals for Teignmouth, including a new health/wellbeing centre, relocating services to Dawlish and selling the hospital site, go to Health Scrutiny at County Hall on Thursday (2.15)

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The proposal to be presented will include ‘a commitment to support the vision of integrated services in Teignmouth and the further development of health and wellbeing services in a new centre on Brunswick Street involving the co-location of the three GP practice sites, the health and wellbeing team and the voluntary sector.’

In order to deliver this vision South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (now merging with NEW Devon CCG) says it would need to:

  • Relocate community clinics from Teignmouth Community Hospital into the health and wellbeing centre
  • Relocate specialist outpatient provision from Teignmouth Community Hospital into Dawlish Community Hospital
  • Relocate theatre services from Teignmouth Community Hospital into Dawlish Community Hospital
  • Reverse the decision following the consultation to establish 12 rehabilitation beds in Teignmouth Community Hospital
  • Close Teignmouth Hospital and sell the site for reinvestment in the local NHS.

The health centre will be built by private firm Health Innovation Partners and local people have been opposing the closure of the hospital (I was at their demonstration in June).

Report of Seaton meeting with RD&E published

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Agreed notes from the meeting of Seaton Area Health Matters with the RD&E Trust are now on the Health Matters website.

A patient tells me of waiting 11 months for hip replacements in @RDEhospitals – and it’s going to get worse this winter. The RD&E boasted of cutting ‘elective admissions’ by 5 per cent last year, but this is a shameful failing of the Trust and @NEWDevonCCG.

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From a constituent: ‘I am writing to you with another example of the impact and stupidity of reducing beds in local community hospitals. I am presently on the waiting list for hip replacement surgery at the RD&E. This waiting list is currently 11 months, compared with the Government guidelines of 18 weeks. 

‘During a follow-up phone call with the RD&E last week, I was told that winter health problems were already causing a shortage of beds and the knock-on effect will be further delays for people on waiting lists for serious surgery. Clearly, beds in community hospitals could have been used to help with winter health emergencies.’

Hip replacements are called ‘elective surgery’ and the RD&E Trust boasted earlier this year that it had reduced the number of these admissions by 5 per cent. As I pointed out to the Health Scrutiny Committee at the time, this might be something to be pleased about if lifestyle changes, etc., meant that people didn’t need so many operations – but the evidence is to the contrary. It has been achieved by lengthening waiting lists for patients who suffer pain and discomfort for months or even years on end.

The lack of priority for ‘elective’ admissions is one of the most shameful failings of the NHS in Devon, alongside the mounting delays in treatment for cancer. Both these problems are repeatedly brushed under the carpet by local NHS leaders.

An inauspicious start for new Scrutiny Committee for the Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership

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Who would have known? The previously unaccountable quango, the Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership, which dispenses public money but whose board is made up mainly of businessmen, now has a scrutiny committee all of its own, recently established in some haste to meet newly imposed legal requirements. The first meeting took place five days ago, but little seems to have happened, judging from the minutes. There is currently no opportunity for public participation and no webcast.

The committee will have 17 members, with 13 Tories (11 confirmed – two representatives of Conservative-controlled district councils to be named), 3 Labour members (2 from Plymouth and 1 from Devon) and 1 Lib Dem from Somerset. Thus Independent and Green members have been entirely excluded, while there is only minimal opposition representation. The ruling Tories on the two county councils have used their majorities – obtained with less than 50 per cent of the votes in the 2017 election – to collar three quarters of the county seats, in addition to all those from the districts they control.

It’s worth mentioning that the Heart of the South West (geographic Devon and Somerset – but few local residents will recognise it under its marketing name) also has a Joint Committee of the Councils, with 19 members even more unevenly distributed by party (16 Tories, 2 Labour, 1 Lib Dem, no Independents or Greens).

Will all this bureaucracy give a new steer to the LEP, notorious so far for its bias towards the Hinckley new power station (it is even funding a hotel for officials of the foreign companies behind the project to stay in), its neglect of coastal and rural areas, and its fantastical plans for the South West to overtake London in productivity?

Devon swings to Remain, says Channel 4 mega-poll – time for local politicians to catch up

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The biggest poll ever undertaken of attitudes to Brexit estimates that, whereas the majority of voters in 6 out of 8 Devon districts backed Leave in 2016, now the situation is reversed – only 2 out of 8 still have majorities for Brexit.

East Devon still shows a narrow Leave majority, but 4 districts have seen Leave majorities overturned.

LEAVE % 2016 LEAVE % 2018 CHANGE 
East Devon Leave 54.11% 52.24% -1.87%
Exeter REMAIN 44.72% 37.49% -7.23%
Mid Devon Switched to REMAIN 53.34% 47.44% -5.90%
North Devon Switched to REMAIN 57.04% 49.04% -8.00%
South Hams REMAIN 47.15% 43.49% -3.66%
Teignbridge Switched to REMAIN 53.90% 48.61% -5.29%
Torridge Leave 60.83% 53.99% -6.84%
West Devon Switched to REMAIN 53.20% 48.52% -4.68%