Don’t cancel operations – do the maths

Sunak’s cunning plan:

The laugh of the day is the following from our man who says he is PM.

Ben Jennings 

Rishi Sunak tells hospitals not to cancel operations despite pressure on NHS.

I assume he has obtained the number of elective operations that are needed each month.

Then that he has found out how long they take.

Then multiplied them together to get the total operation hours needed.

Then divided by the number of operation hours a team can carry out in a month, not forgetting that they have time off leave and sick leave just like other human beings.

That will give him the number of operating teams needed for elective surgery..

Next I presume he has compared the number needed with the number available, so he knows whether he is asking for the possible.

And next I assume he has costed the work to check it is within budget.

That is why people need to do maths. And it is one of the things those administrators in hospital have to be able to handle.

So Rishi wants everyone to learn maths and he wants hospital operating teams to move faster than the speed of light, something Einstein told us is impossible.

NHS using hotels in Plymouth and Bristol to house patients amid pressure on hospitals

Hotels in the South West are being used to care for patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital as pressure on the NHS continues to grow.

ITV News

People who are medically fit enough to leave hospital but can’t get the social care they need in the community are being put up in the hotels to help free up beds.

Hospitals in Plymouth and Bristol are among those using hotels to relieve pressure, and the scheme is currently being discussed by health bosses in Cornwall.

It is understood the Leonardo Hotel in Plymouth City Centre, previously a Jury’s Inn, is among those being used to provide care.

NHS Devon has been using their care hotel since mid-October 2022 with 40 beds available across two self-contained floors.

A spokesperson for NHS Devon said: “Care hotels are just one of many positive measures health and care partners have put in place to reduce pressure on busy health services this winter.

“They are not used for hospital patients and are used to provide social care for people who are medically fit and do not require hospital care but do need additional living support after a stay in hospital or to prevent them from needing to be admitted.”

One anonymous user of the service praised the “camaraderie from everyone” at the site, adding: “You have all been so kind to me, nothing is too much trouble. Such pleasant memories.”

While another patient at the Devon care hotel added: “I feel very grateful the carers have been very caring and good to me.”

Meanwhile in Bristol 30 beds have been put aside at an unknown hotel in the city centre for patients leaving hospitals in the area.

The average length of stay at the site, which has been running since the end of last year and will continue until the end of March 2023, is expected to be around three weeks per patient.

A spokesperson for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “Local health and care services are under significant pressure and this temporary care facility delivered at a local hotel will help us to improve the ‘flow’ of patients through our hospitals by ensuring more people can be discharged as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital.

“Nobody should have to stay in hospital longer than necessary and this facility will ensure more people can be discharged promptly.

“It will also improve the flow of patients through our hospitals while helping to address ambulance handover delays.”

The care facility is being provided by CQC-registered homecare company Abicare and is being delivered by live-in care workers on a 24/7 basis with visiting clinical teams providing rehabilitation and primary care support.

In Cornwall, discussions are underway about the use of the care facilities in the Duchy.

A spokesperson for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said: “Health and care system discussions to set up a facility – similar to a care hotel that was in operation last year – are currently underway, however details are yet to be confirmed.”

Extra council cash is made available for homes struggling with the cost-of-living crisis in East Devon

Extra council cash has been found to help those in East Devon struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, writes local democracy reporter, Rob Kershaw.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has agreed to change the name of its Covid-19 Hardship Fund to the Cost-of-Living Hardship fund, with the money left over from the pandemic support scheme being used to help households in need.

It follows a meeting of the council in October 2022, during which Councillors asked officers to create “an additional discretionary energy support fund based on evidence from the poverty dashboard data.”

Currently, the district council has £257,000 left from the renamed scheme, and it intends to use it to provide “targeted” assistance to those struggling to make ends meet.

The fund is currently due to be rolled out on April 1,2023, after the end of the current Housing Support Fund (HSF) being delivered across Devon.

Under the HSF scheme, qualifying households in the county receive grants of up to £650 to help with bills, enabling them to avoid falling behind on their council tax.

This scheme, which in East Devon runs on a budget of a third of a million pounds, is being delivered through vouchers that must be collected before the end of March. Any money not used by then will be taken back.

However, if the HSF cash runs out before March 31, EDDC may start eating into the £257,000 pot, playing virtually the same role as HSF.

The difference is that additional groups in need of support can be helped by the cost-of-living fund, but they are yet to be identified.

As for energy bills, EDDC will soon roll-out an Additional Support Fund – a £400 payment for residents who live in park homes or on commercial premises, such as flats above shops.

The council also hopes to have an Additional Fuel Fund to help those whose homes are not heated by mains gas or electricity.

This will be targeted at households that did not receive the Government’s £400 discount on their energy bills in the second half of 2022.

However, it is not yet known whether either of these funds will cover the scores of residents of Cranbrook, many who were left without hot water and heating in December 2022 due to maintenance problems.

Campaigners’ shock as Straitgate quarry refusal overturned at appeal

Controversial plans for a 100-acre quarry near Ottery St Mary have been given the go-ahead after planning refusal was overturned at appeal. 

Economic benefits outweigh any harm – the all too often verdict of an appeal and a deeply disappointing result. – Owl

Philippa Davies 

Devon County Council rejected the Straitgate Quarry application in December 2021. Their reasons included potential harm to ‘heritage assets’ such as Cadhay House, the health risks caused by potential dangers to the water supply, a lack of evidence of measures to conserve protected species and lack of a surface water management plan and subsequent potential flood risks. 

The quarrying company Aggregate Industries (AI) appealed against the refusal and both sides argued their case during a hearing in October which lasted several days. 

Today, Thursday December 5, the planning inspectors published their decision to allow the appeal. This gives the company planning permission to extract up to 1.5 million tonnes of raised sand and gravel over 10 to 12 years, and transport it to Hillhead Quarry near Uffculme for processing.

The appeal hearing examined all the areas of concern, but in each case the planning inspectors concluded that there were not sufficient grounds to block the scheme. They said AI had provided a ‘robust’ hydrogeological assessment and ‘it has been clearly demonstrated that the development would not be likely to result in unacceptable adverse effects on water supplies and human health’. 

With regard to heritage assets, they said ‘there would be no harm to Cadhay House or its garden, and that although there would be less than substantial harm to Straitgate Farmhouse during operations, that harm would be outweighed by public benefits’. 

Concerns had also been raised about potential road safety risks of HGVs using the B3174, but the planning inspectors said this could be managed by limiting the HGV movements. Responding to concerns about damage to the natural environment, they said ‘the proposal would not result in any unacceptable adverse effect in terms of its impact on trees and hedgerows’. 

The county councillor for the Otter Valley, Cllr Jess Bailey, said she is ‘horrified’ by the decision to overturn planning refusal. 

She said: “From my initial reading of the decision notice it certainly appears to me that the Inspectors have failed to recognize the very great harm and risks associated with this proposal and some of their conclusions appear flawed. I strongly disagree with their decision and as far as I am concerned the proposal remains completely unacceptable.” 

The Straitgate Action Group, which has been opposing the quarrying for more than 20 years, said it is ‘disappointed’ with the planning inspectors’ decision. A statement on the group’s website says: “We would like to thank all those who have have campaigned with us, and all those who have so generously supported us over the years – we are so sorry that the end result was not the one we had all hoped for.”