The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fight at DCC for local hospital beds – winner and losers

The observations of a member of the public (Chris Wakefield) at the meeting. Note: whoever voted for Councillors Brook (Chudleigh) and Diviani (Honiton St Pauls) at the last election – hang your heads in shame.

Brook tried to stop Claire Wright’s tough motion (which was carried) because she wrote it down!!!!! Diviani, also Leader of East Devon District Council) said and did NOTHING to help Honiton hospital to stay open. Others who voted against are named below.

The vote (which should have been unanimous) went 7-5 in Claire Wright’s favour. Those voting against were: Jerry Brook (Chudleigh), Paul Diviani (Honiton St Pauls) Chris Clarance (Teign Estuary), Debo Sellis (Tavistock)and Rufus Gilbert ( Salcombe).

“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.”

One thought on “The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fight at DCC for local hospital beds – winner and losers

  1. Let’s just disaggregate the CCG’s use of “cautiously optimistic” (as in “cautiously optimistic that the new model of care can be implemented”) …

    “Optimistic” means “hopeful” as in “we are hopeful that the new model of care will work” – I don’t know about you but before I have to be treated under this new model of care I would want them to be a lot more certain about my care outcomes than “hopeful”. Personally I expect the CCG to be undertaking well monitored and measured pilots to confirm that the new model of care will be as effective and safe as the current model rather than jumping in head first and HOPING for the best.

    “Cautiously optimistic” means that they aren’t confident about being hopeful – they have to be cautious about it.

    This sort of “hope for the best” attitude in health care seems to me to be playing life-and-death roulette with people’s heath care. SHAMEFUL!!


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