Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

Comments on "Hospital bed cuts to be referred to Secretary of State for Health unless raft of assurances given"

1. At 08:56 pm on 07th Mar Jack Rowland wrote:

Congratulations on getting the resolution passed. Thanks for what you achieved today and I’ll brief Seaton Town Council accordingly.

2. At 10:32 pm on 07th Mar Helen Tucker wrote:

Well done.  This is what the Scrutiny committee is there for.  There is much to challenge in the proposals, as well as the consultation process.  Thank goodness you are calling the commissioners to account.  The areas you outline where reassurance is needed is spot on.

3. At 12:11 am on 08th Mar Malcolm Lee wrote:

Thank you for this excellent update and for the hard work still being put in by you and others who are trying to halt this hospital bed closure madness.

4. At 01:02 am on 08th Mar Chris East wrote:

Excellent work Claire.  They are on the run, but referal to the Sof S will need even more astute handling.

5. At 07:43 am on 08th Mar John Wardman wrote:

A tour de force, you really socked it to em on scrutiny Claire. What are the 5 councillors who opposed thinking about? Have they no concern for the health and well-being of those constituents that they represent?

6. At 07:55 am on 08th Mar Di Fuller wrote:

Well done Claire. An excellent outcome. I’m still amazed that any councillor would vote against your motion. The whole consultation has been a sham.

7. At 08:12 am on 08th Mar Roger Giles wrote:

NEWDevon CCG carried out a consultation on its proposal to slash the number of hospital beds and to close several community hospitals in Eastern Devon. There were 2,000 responses. The CCG spent several weeks analysing the responses. The CCG made a planned visit to the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee to explain their closure plans following the consultation. Yet when you asked how many of the responses were objections, the CCG chief officer claimed not to know!! If one were looking for compelling evidence of the CCG complete lack of credibility its own chief officer provided it at the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on 7 March 2017.

8. At 09:53 am on 08th Mar Dr David Seamark wrote:

Thank you Claire This is encouraging. Having worked in community hospitals for 25 years and witnessed the shambles that is’community care’ I have very little confidence that adequate care can be provided in the community under current arrangements.

9. At 01:16 pm on 08th Mar Robert Crick wrote:

Claire your success is a fitting celebration for International Women’s Day!

Our MP should have received the letter below in time for budget day:

Dear Sir Hugo,
Re: Our Future Care

The consultation is now complete. The CCG announced its decision yesterday in the presence of a large number of concerned citizens.

The Business Case presentation by the CCG acknowledged that the decision on which beds to close was “finely balanced” and was not based on the responses to the Consultation process, which strongly favoured option A (i.e. to retain beds at Seaton rather than Sidmouth). It seems the whole £7.5 million exercise was not only flawed by loaded questions and inadequate evidence but was also an irrelevant distraction.

Today the CCG announced the “temporary” closure of a further 16 beds, due to a shortage of nursing staff, at Holsworthy. Thus in four years NEW Devon has experienced a cumulative closure of 199 of its previous 314 community beds.

Your support for hospitals in Sidmouth and Exmouth is understandable and you must be gratified by the outcome. However, the closure of 63% of the hospital beds in neighbouring towns will have immediate adverse effects within your constituency.

Page 44 of yesterday’s CCG Business Case offers reassurance on implementation of the future model of care. I do not doubt the managers’ sincerity but people are concerned about their ability to deliver and can see no line of accountability following the 2012 Act’s removal of responsibility from the Secretary of State. Please can you suggest how we might monitor the effectiveness of the outcomes?

The nub of the challenge is, as you know, the collapse of our social care system. Your November “cart before the horse” comments have been universally endorsed. However, while the emergency re-allocation of some funds is a welcome signal, your constituents, who are struggling to substitute for professional carers, expect determined political leadership. Please bear this in mind during the forthcoming budget allocations.

Rather than tinkering with a broken system, should not government undertake an urgent and courageous re-examination of priorities?

Yours sincerely,

Robert Crick


P.S. Thank you for your 22 December letter. Unfortunately, your response failed to address the concerns I raised on 13 December. I enclose my response to the Consultation with a duplicate of my earlier letter.

Your letter did however raise a range of separate issues on which I comment below.

While your figures prove that the NHS is generously funded, the effective delivery of the service is being compromised. Market reforms introduced into what was once the most efficient health service in the world now divert an ever-increasing proportion of these resources from the care and treatment of patients into transaction costs and administrative costs. There are other inefficiencies of course, including the high cost of caring for homeless people that I wrote to you about in December. Community hospitals are cheaper and more convenient than acute hospitals for most purposes.

You quote “Success Regime” assertions on the comparative cost of care in community hospital beds and care at home. I urge you to consider:
The home situation of at least 30% of our neighbours means that care at home is not a viable option.
By their own admission the CCG had not collected the statistical evidence for their proposals before or during or after the consultation process. It was not until February 2017 that baseline data on NEW Devon’s bed closures was provided after numerous requests and it has still not been published. The figures reveal that the “equitable” levelling down of bed numbers in the Eastern Locality could be justified only thanks to recent mass closures elsewhere.
Furthermore, Ms Peddar’s own figures show that in any one month it is 15% cheaper to treat and care for 82 people if each one stays in a 16-bed hospital for an average of five days, than it would be to send NHS workers out to visit their homes.

10. At 03:31 pm on 08th Mar Tim wrote:

As an (adopted) Exmouthian I do not consider that we ‘won’ anything in this sorry state of affairs though it is, from memory, what our MP wanted. Thank goodness we have Claire batting for so many of is. Thanks Claire.

11. At 03:41 pm on 08th Mar Chris Wakefield wrote:

Having watched the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee webcast it is easy to see why we are where we are with this. Here’s a selective personal account for anyone who missed the live action.

CCG’s team was out in force, with a front bench of four, bolstered by some invisible ‘friends’ mentioned by the chairman but never seen by us, to urge them on. They kicked off with a slightly nervy CCG presentation mainly to tell us why the consultation was such a remarkable achievement - an award-winning consultation - endorsed by all sorts of benchmarks, quality marks, kite marks, hall marks and all; and it is hard to fault it against the measures offered to us. The only down side is that everyone else thought it was a ready-made decision seeking a post-facto endorsement. Neil Parish MP called it a ‘sham’ and few would disagree with him.

The councillors on the committee, in the main, then laid into them, and voiced what the feeling was among their constituents, which was justifiably murderous, and which prompted CCG’s Rob Sainsbury to launch into vigorous technicalities, emphasising his case with staccato hand movements, and showing the clear strain of casting his carefully modeled pearls before such porcine auditors. There were questions, to which most answers were inadequate, and others not given. There was talk, (threats possibly) of FOI demands, which is alarming given that all these people are in public employment, and I have never worked out why any information is not forthcoming simply for the asking.

Anyway, a few highlight will cheer us up - first the pleasure of watching old hands in action - Cllrs Westlake and Greenslade in particular, the latter quite chirpy considering the doleful nature of the business at hand, leaping on Simon Kerr’s foot-in-mouth remark about the complete absence of responsive social care in Axminster, and brazenly cutting to the chase, asking how much the Success Regime was costing us. (An interim cost was £2.6m I thought I heard, but I could be wrong - that seems like an awful lot of cutter for a man-and-a-dog outfit like Carnell Farrer).

No one in fact was inclined to give wholehearted support to the CCG in their plans; there were a few limp equivocations - cllr Diviani told us (once he could get his voice going - the key is turned but the engine always takes ages to actually start) that he’d been in hospital and it was brilliant, and one or two others wrung their hands over the clear lack of social care provision, while not condemning the process that brought us the crisis. Claire was invited to make her proposal for the committee to vote on, whereupon the snappily dressed cllr. Brook, clearly confused that Claire has prepared for the meeting by writing down her proposal, suggested that people who wrote things down were clearly trying to subvert the democratic process. (Tories have traditionally held that teaching the working classes to read and write had been a mistake - and that tendency has played into our education system ever since 1872, which is why legislation has studiously avoided any education in matters of politics, in order to forestall indiscipline in the ranks. There is a cracking story on that topic, but I’ll skip it for the moment). Cllr Westlake, from the chair, reminding cllr Brook that writing was OK, proposed that Claire’s proposal was put to the vote. Result 7 - 5 in favour. That’s OK, good even - but what is there to vote against one wonders, the proposal is merely to make sure we do the utmost to get things right before trashing the existing local health infrastructure. And when you hear ‘We are very cautiously optimistic that the new model of care can be implemented’ from the CCG, then caution seems eminently sensible.

Just watched the budget in the commons. Must pack this in - politics is infuriating enough without hours of watching it on the telly as well. Except that it is primary data, and bypasses the media, so it does help us to see what actually is going on.

It will be interesting to see how much of the £1bn for top performing STP planners comes Devon’s way. Probably in proportion to the extent of fawning the local MPs can summon for Mrs May’s other tricky issues on the government’s agenda.  Well done Claire.

12. At 06:18 pm on 08th Mar marian cleaver wrote:

Very well done Claire. I have just come back from visiting my 87ys old friend/neighbour who is in Bovey ward RD&E, a package of care has been requested since January 6th and escalated from the hospital where she has been for 3 weeks, desperate to come home, family abroad. and no money to pay for her own care. As I understand it there are many patients in that ward waiting for home care, so how many in the hospital in the same position - bed blocking! There is no care in the community, agencies just don’t have enough staff. As a retired nurse of 35yrs service I like you despair of the future. Thank you.

13. At 10:39 am on 09th Mar Jan Goffey wrote:

Thank you Claire! If it wasn’t for the millions the CCG themselves cost, the NHS would have enough money! Cut the bureaucracy Not the beds!  Where is this Home Nursing Care system actually working successfully - and independently verified to be so?

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