(Tory) Council leaders, don’t you just love ’em – not!

Current leader of EDDC, Paul Diviani, and his Tory friends on the council voted against hospital bed cuts at EDDC (which is toothless on this matter) but he then voted FOR the same cuts at Devon County Council, which has just a few gnashers, but where former EDDC Leader and DCC councillor for Whimple, Sarah Randall Johnson, silenced a legitimate opposition debate on closures using very dubious tactics against her arch-enemy (campaigner and ouster from her EDDC seat) Claire Wright:


Now the former Leader of Grenfell Tower Council joins the merry band:

The council leader who presided over the Grenfell Tower disaster offered paid “advice” on public sector cutbacks – and tried to “whitewash” his CV in the process.

Nick Paget-Brown resigned as leader of Kensington and Chelsea council after the authority’s woeful response to the deadly inferno drew widespread criticism.

He has remained a councillor but has attracted fresh ire from survivors and rival politicians after advertising his own company – NPB Consulting – on his new Linkedin profile.

The firm, of which he is managing director, offers specialist advice on “financial planning in an age of austerity” to other councils.

Paget-Brown is also accused of hurling a “final insult” to victims as he has omitted his experience as council leader from his CV’s career history, leaving a space between the end of his time as deputy leader in 2013 and founding NPB in 2017. His appointment as leader was mentioned elsewhere. …

Paget-Brown used the networking site to advertise his skills, including “policy analysis, seminars, briefings and drafting assistance for organisations working with local authorities”.

Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington, said: “Paget-Brown’s attempt to whitewash his career by becoming a cost-cutting consultant is the final insult.”

Moyra Samuels, co-founder of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign, said: “To effectively say, ‘I’m moving on swiftly to my next project’ shows complete disdain for this community.”

At the time of his resignation, Paget-Brown said he shared responsibility for the “perceived failings” of the council. “


Only “perceived” note …

Coverage of Seaton hospital bed closures

Owl still thinks THIS is the real reason for the hurried closure:

“Protesters waved banners and shouted ‘shame’ outside Seaton Hospital today (Monday, August 21) as health chiefs began implementing their in-patient bed closure plans.

A similar vigil will take place outside Honiton Hospital next Monday when the cuts are due to begin there.

Yesterday’s gathering was addressed by Seaton’s county councillor Martin Shaw who said the town had been badly let down, and town mayor Jack Rowland, who said that while they may have lost the fight to save the beds the battle would now begin to save the actual hospital.

The dates for the closure of in-patient beds in East Devon was announced by health officials last week.

In a statement the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust said: “The NHS has given details of how it intends to implement its ‘Your Future Care’ plans to improve patient care across Eastern Devon, including creating new nursing, therapist and support roles.

“Your Future Care” set out proposals to move away from the existing bed-based model of care. Instead it proposed a model of care focused on proactively averting health crises and promoting independence and wellbeing.

“The plans were subject to a 13-week public consultation that closed earlier this year, following which the NHS NEW Devon CCG approved a way forward which enhanced community services to support more home-based care by redirecting and reinvesting some existing bed-based resources. The net result would mean an increase of over 50 community-based staff to support out of hospital care and a reduction in community inpatient beds across the Eastern locality of Devon.

“Detailed operational work began in this area with the introduction of the Community Connect out-of-hospital service in March which has already led to a reduction in demand for community inpatient beds.

“In order to achieve this transition safely, implementation will take a phased approach to redeploy and recruit staff to the additional nursing, therapy, care workers and pharmacist roles which will enhance community services in Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon.

This will enable the reduction in inpatient beds – moving from seven community inpatient units to three.

The timetable for implementation is:

• Seaton Community Hospital week commencing 21 August 2017

• Okehampton Community Hospital week commencing 21 August 2017

• Honiton Community Hospital week commencing 28 August 2017

• Exeter Community Hospital week commencing 4 September 2017.

“The provision of inpatient services at these locations will cease from these dates. All other services at these hospitals will continue as normal. Patients in these areas in medical need of a community inpatient bed will be accommodated at either Tiverton, Sidmouth or Exmouth hospitals, depending on where they live.

“Over the past couple of weeks it has become apparent that the schedule for the closure of the in-patient units needs to be brought forward. This is due to the increasing pressures on safely staffing the current configuration of seven community inpatient units. Furthermore, now that the workforce HR consultation has been completed, 170 staff can be redeployed into the enhanced community teams and our hospitals to provide extra capacity and resilience to meet the demand for care for the people of Eastern Devon.”

Adel Jones, Integration Director at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust said: “It is acknowledged that getting to this point in the process has not been without its challenges and I would like to thank all who have contributed to the development of the implementation plans.”

Dr Anthony Hemsley, Associate Medical Director at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital said: “Although the decision to reduce inpatient beds will only affect a small number of patients per week, we, with the support of the clinical assurance panel, are confident that our plans to provide more care at home are safe and ultimately will help more people to be independent.

“At the point of implementation, we will be able to redirect some of the existing bed-based resource into local community teams. Additional staff including community nurses, therapists and personal support workers will be there to provide greater provision and access to care and support. However, we know that there is still much more work to be done, particularly around prevention, wellbeing, recruitment of staff and availability of domiciliary care. This can only be done in partnership with communities and we at the RD&E look forward to continuing this work.”

Rob Sainsbury, chief operating officer for NEW Devon CCG, said: “Reallocating resources away from hospital bed-based care into more home-based and community care will really make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“It will ensure that everyone who needs the service in our community has the best access to good quality and sustainable health services and help people to stay independent for longer, with the benefit of being cared for closer to family and friends.”


Electoral reform needed; system not strong OR stable!

“… In the end, we have a system that only recognises the geographical location of a voter and nothing else. It is where voters are – rather than how many are backing whom – that matters. This must change if we are to restore legitimacy to our political institutions.

But the real question for our politicians is this: if the two main parties can gain over 80% of the vote for the first time in decades, in a system designed for two parties, and yet both still lose – when will they show the leadership the country so desperately needs and fix our voting system?

Doing so would send a message that far from being in it for themselves, parties can make brave and bold decisions to revitalise our democracy. If there’s anything this last few years have shown, it’s that people feel alienated from politics and are struggling to be heard. Let’s find positive ways of making that happen.”

Read the full report here:


Care at home – in your dreams, sorry – nightmares!

A comment from Save Our Hospitals Facebook on the Seaton hospital beds closure today and Honiton next week:

“What utter tripe!!!!

Out of all our nursing auxiliaries at Honiton there is ONE, being redeployed in community. The rest have been shipped to Exeter and Sidmouth!!
How’s that for care in the community! The bloke [Neil Parish MP, who responds to worried constituents with an anodyne “round robin” but voted through the cuts] is a total liar, as is the rest of them!! When it came to the crunch,they all turned their backs on their community!! God help them!!”

RIP Seaton Community Hospital beds – vigil, noon today

The town with the largest catchment area for elderly people – its community hospital closes the doors on its beds today.

Built by public subscription, funded by a hard-working League of Friends, only its outpatient services will remain – for now.

The heart of a community stops beating today.

Thanks to the vote of East Devon District Leader (Paul Diviani – who voted at EDDC against his own district recommendation) and former Leader and Chair of DCC Health and Social Care Committee Sarah Randall-Johnson, who voted along with all other Conservatives on that committee not to refer the closures of Seaton and Honiton (next Monday) to the Secretary of State.

This will leave the whole of the eastern side of the district with no community beds at all – the few remaining beds to be (for the time being) in Sidmouth and Exmouth, closer to Exeter and Cranbrook.

Sidmouth Port Royal: “Retain, reuse, reburbish” meeting Wednesday 23 August 7.30 pm

The meeting, on

Wednesday 23rd August
starts at 7pm at
All Saints Church Hall, All Saints Road, Sidmouth.

“More than a thousand people have now signed the petition “an alternative plan for Sidmouth’s Port Royal—the 3 Rs.

If you, too, feel strongly about appropriate development at the eastern end of the seafront, but haven’t yet added your name, it is urgent to do so as a decision is imminent.

Signatures for the ‘Retain-Refurbish-Reuse’ option are being collected online at


or alternatively on paper – for example at this week’s 3Rs Public Meeting, organised by EDDC Councillors Matt Booth, Cathy Gardner, Dawn Manley and Marianne Rixson, and Chaired by Di Fuller – see header above”

The “hold your nose” General Election – 20 million votes “wasted”

“Twenty-two million votes were “wasted” in June’s election and had no impact on the result, a study reveals today.

Nearly seven out of 10 ballots made no different to the outcome, which stripped Theresa May of a Commons majority, the Electoral Reform Society report claims.

It brands the 2017 poll the ‘hold your nose’ election, estimating 6.5 million people voted tactically because they knew ticking the box for their favourite party or candidate would have no influence.

Other findings include that if just 0.0016% of voters chose differently, the Conservatives would have won a majority; the rise of very marginal seats, with 11 seats won by fewer than 100 votes; and the second highest voting volatility since 1931, with people switching sides at “astonishing” levels.

The ERS also blasts Britain’s first-past-the-post system, which is designed to avoid hung parliaments – but, for the second time in three general elections, left no party with a majority.

Chief executive Darren Hughes said: “The vast majority of votes are going to waste, with millions still stuck in the electoral black hole of winner-takes-all – a diverse and shifting public having to work around a broken two-party system.

“The result is volatile voting and random results in the different parts of the UK.

“There are a wide range of systems where votes are not thrown on the electoral scrapheap.

“We need to move towards a means of electing our MPs where all voices are heard and where people don’t feel forced to hold their nose at the ballot box.”

The ERS’ ‘Volatile Voting – Random Results’ report says while Labour secured 29% of votes in the South East it got just 10% of seats.

In the North East, the Tories netted 34% of votes but scooped just 9% of seats.

Meanwhile, the SNP continued to be over-represented in Scotland, as was Labour in Wales, while Northern Ireland voters were “forced into two camps”, according to the report.

Researchers discovered the Conservatives benefited most from the mismatch between votes and seats, winning 46% of English votes but 56% of seats.

Mr Hughes said: “June’s election has shown first-past-the-post is unable to cope with people’s changing voting habits – forcing citizens and parties to try and game the system.

“With an estimated 6.5 million people ‘holding their nose’ at the ballot box, voters have been denied real choice and representation.

“This surge in tactical voting – double the rate of 2015 – meant voters shifted their party allegiances at unprecedented rates, with the second highest level of voter volatility since the inter-war years.”