About ….. turn! Councillors doing contortions?

With the proposal to severely cut community hospital beds and totally close some community hospitals (Owl STILL insists a ” community health hub” with no beds is NOT a hospital) comes some interesting behaviour from majority party councillors in East Devon.

For example”

Suddenly, they have become “experts” on consultation, loudly stating that the CCG consultation is “flawed” because users of NHS services were not consulted.

They check numbers and find some don’t add up and some are missing.

They ask for “more evidence” on some of the CCG’s wilder claims.

They suddenly discover their voices and some, who have been mute for many a long month or even years, decry the whole project – even though their own party is 100% responsible for it.

They complain bitterly about the amount of money spent on so-called consultants who seem ready to tell the CCG what it wants to hear – for a price.

Well, councillors, welcome to our world – the world of residents battling some of YOUR sillier decisions (so many of them) and profligate spending. Now YOU know how WE feel – if only for a fleeting moment and because it is YOUR health and YOUR families that will suffer from these decisions. Especially as so many of our majority councillors are of the age and lifestyle that often makes most demand on community hospital services.

Just one caveat: Councillor Leader Diviani HAS stayed true to his principles and has tacitly agreed to CCG proposals to close Honiton hospital – having not spoken out AND voting against the motion from Councillor Claire Wright at DCC to “stop the clock” on the plans until Honiton and Okehampton hospitals (both due to close under CCG proposals) could have their viability assessments checked and included in the plans.

Expect some rousing speeches when the head of the CCG comes before the EDDC Scrutiny Committee on Thursday this week at 6 pm. But do watch out for any majority councillors crossing their fingers behind their backs.

Yes, welcome to our world indeed – if only for a very short time.

2 thoughts on “About ….. turn! Councillors doing contortions?

  1. It is a pity that majority party politicians do not do more to inform themselves of the detail of the CCG’s proposals before falling neatly into the trap set by the CCG by its framing of the “consultation”.

    By making the consultation about which beds to close, rather than whether to implement a radical change of approach to providing care, they have prompted the more naive campaigners to fight for their own hospital over and above other hospitals, setting campaigner against campaigner rather than campaigner against cuts in general.

    Cllr Stuart Hughes is a prime example of this, http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/home/claims_the_criterion_for_bed_cuts_in_eastern_devon_is_flawed_1_4780910 in which he takes a stand saying that Sidmouth Hospital should not be the one to be cut (the impolication, of course, being that he wants one of the others closed instead). Shame on him for not bothering to learn about the anatomy of the CCG proposals before making a cut which is no more than skin-deep into the issues.

    To summarise my analysis published elsewhere, the CCG proposals have no evidence to show that either their proposals or the way they plan to implement them will be either effective or safe or low risk, and that vulnerable patients will not be left at home unable to care for themselves and uncared for by the NHS and Social Services. Indeed the best they can say about their pilots in N. Devon is that people thought that the administration of appointments was done well, but there is nothing about whether the treatments were asv effective or as safe as if they had been done in hospital. However there are sweeping criticisms of the way that the CCG went about these plans in N. Devon and substantial anecdotal evidence of issues with care and treatments.

    In the absence of evidence, these plans can only be considered dangerous for patients.

    Cathy Gardner and Claire Wright, on the other hand, are organising meetings and leaflets and asking probing questions of the CCG at scrutiny meetings. If you want to get active yourself and fight these cuts, you would be far better getting behind their campaigns or those of Save Our Hospital Services Devon.

    I wonder how many Tory politicians will be out marching at the See Red day in Exeter on 3 December? People like Stuart Hughes need to decide where their loyalties really lie and vote with their feet by resigning from the party that created this whole mess.


    • I have to say that I agree with your analysis. On the reported information, the actual justification for the change(s) proposed are anecdotal – they lack any form of scientific rigour and, I suggest, show those who advance them to be significantly less than open when ‘playing’ with the health and lives of thousands of people who are being quite deliberately side-lined into a debate, not about should we be doing this at all, but about how we should be doing something that is unproven and risks people’s lives. The real question is why are we doing this at all?

      Both current and previous governments must take responsibility for their parts in deliberately cutting back on NHS expenditure and trying to create a market for private healthcare that is ephemeral – if they don’t make enough profit they walk away or demand a minimum profit before they will play – the NHS is the backstop on which they all rely. And we should make it plain that we are not here paying our taxes and NI payments just to bankroll private industry. If we (through the NHS) have to pick up the pieces (like with the pensions at BHS and Bernard Matthews?) then where is the profit to us? If it is no more than a one-way street – private industry taking a cut for doing nothing, then it is high time we told government that the will of the people is above the wet desires of the industry lobbyists. Maybe we need legislation that forbids any form of private lobbying and taxes ‘party donations’ at 100% or more.

      While we are at it, how about seeing some prosecutions where MPs and Civil Servants transgress the rules. Because if there are obvious offences, but no prosecutions, then we all know that there is only one rule.

      Yours aye


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