STPs may not be introduced till after Brexit – but are ‘Success Regimes’ similarly doomed or not?

Owl has had to resort to CAPITALS it is so mad!







What Hunt said yesterday:

“Given the result of the latest general election and with the negotiations around Brexit due to start later this month, it is now unlikely that the government will be able to introduce legislation for sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) in the next few years – if at all.

Speaking at NHS Confederation yesterday, health secretary Jeremy Hunt argued that the legislative landscape has changed after a hung Parliament was declared last week. Because of this, it is unrealistic to expect the government to enact legislative health changes before the Brexit process is finished.

“We said [in our manifesto] that we would legislate to give STPs a statutory underpinning if that was felt to be necessary,” he said. “To be clear, we’re expecting to be in power until 2022 and deliver a stable government to make that possible.

“But obviously, the legislative landscape has changed, and that means that legislation of this nature is only going to be possible if there is a consensus across all political parties that it’s necessary. I don’t think that is in any way impossible, but it’s realistically not something we would do while the Brexit process was carrying on.”

Post-Brexit, he added, the government will have “a lot better understanding” of the legislative changes required by STPs. But even then, changing the law would require cross-party support – a much greater challenge now that the Conservatives no longer hold the majority in the House of Commons.

Responding to audience questions after his keynote speech, Hunt – who survived Theresa May’s recent political reshuffle – also hinted that the NHS could be in line to receive some more transformation funding.

Asked by a West Hampshire GP about the possibility of supporting transformation with ringfenced investment in order to enable new models of care elsewhere in the country, the health secretary argued “that is what the STP plans are about”.

But the biggest risk to pouring in more capital funding, he noted, is “if we don’t maintain the financial rigour and discipline that we started to see coming back into the system in the last year”.

“That was really what slowed down this process in the 2015-16 financial year, when we would’ve liked to put a lot more money into transformation,” the health secretary said. “But I think now we’re in a much, much better position to do that. We absolutely want to make sure that money is not an impediment to the rolling out of the STPs, because they are central to our vision.”

In fact, the recent NHS response to the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester, which saw staff working around the clock to cope with the unexpected demand, is a “very good reason for exactly what we’re trying to achieve with the STP process”, Hunt argued.

“The interesting lesson for me about the response in Manchester was how joined-up it was as a result of the terrific progress, under Jon Rouse’s leadership, that trusts have made in coming together as part of their STP,” he added. “I think they’ve probably gone further and faster than anywhere else in the country. I know it’s not been easy to do that, but it was extremely streamlined and effective.”

He also suggested that the government would be prepared to boost the region’s cash pot “if there are specific aspects of the response to those terrible events where there have been unexpected costs that the NHS incurred that wouldn’t be part of its normal response to emergency situations”.

STPs need local support
Asked by another audience member to explain the importance of bringing all local communities together into designing and delivering change, Hunt emphasised that the reasoning behind STPs is to bring about “fantastically beneficial” changes for patients.

“It’s a transformation that is wholly positive for the public,” the secretary of state said. “But people are passionate about their NHS and they obviously worry about any change that happens, and that’s why we have a responsibility to communicate that change. And that change is usually best not communicated by politicians, but by clinicians, because frankly you guys are trusted a lot more than we are.

“That’s why I think it’s really important to have that local engagement, and that’s why, when it comes to the big transformation plans, Simon Stevens and I are supporting them with every fibre in our bodies at a national level.
“But at a local level, we need you to be making the arguments. The evidence is that when you do that, even with potentially controversial changes, it’s quite possible to win the case to do them. But it does involve a lot of local engagement and I think that’s going to be one of the central challenges for the next few years.”

Could this be our next Prime Minister? Please, NO!

Anyone who voted Conservative in East Devon but who might be wobbling nos, PLEASE read this and do your research on the ONLY alternative – Claire Wright. And ask yourself – is this better or worse than Diane Abbott forgetting a couple of numbers.

“It must have seemed a good idea at the time. A 15-minute light grilling on the morning BBC sofa with whichever stand-in presenter the corporation had dredged up to fill the void left by Andrew Marr, still recovering from a stroke. Nothing that an old hand like Boris Johnson need fear.

Tousle the hair a little, some self-deprecation and a bit of a plug for the BBC TV documentary on Monday to remind the Tory backbenchers that if the ball ever popped out of the scrum, he would be on hand to take it, almost accidentally, over the line. A spot of liberal differentiation from his school chum David Cameron on the benefits of migrants might provide with him an entry to the likely story of the day, the prime minister’s imminent speech on migrants and access to social housing. But after the 15 minutes of chilling inquisition by the softly spoken Eddie Mair, Johnson’s reputation had taken a severe pounding. Indeed, it was probably the worst interview the mayor has ever conducted.

It was inevitably described as a car crash, but in the case of Johnson, it was more of a bicycle crash: spokes all over the road, wheels mangled and a reputation badly dented.

After the opening exchanges – “Good morning, how are you?”; “Very, very good, thank you” – Johnson went downhill at an alarming pace until by the interview’s close, admitting he had “sandpapered” quotes as a Times journalist, failing to deny he lied to the party leader at the time, Michael Howard, about an extramarital affair and conceding that he had humoured an old friend when he asked for a phone number in the knowledge that the friend intended to beat up the owner of it.

By the interview’s close, “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” was one of Mair’s more generous reflections on Johnson’s integrity.

Doubtless Johnson had been lulled into a false sense of security by the opening minutes in which he was able to hint, without providing incontrovertible proof, that he thought Cameron was misunderstanding the importance of migrants to the London economy.

He also gently put the boot into his predecessor as mayor for failing to plan the London Olympics’ stadium properly. He came across as the charming, talented politician that he is.

But then Mair took the interview on an unexpected turn, and asked Johnson why he had agreed to be interviewed for the Michael Cockerell documentary. Johnson flannelled before, saying he had not seen the programme. Suddenly Mair’s tone changed lethally: “But this happened in your life, so you know about this. The Times let you go after you made up a quote. Why did you make up a quote?”

It is impossible to describe the menacing politeness of tone in which Mair specialises, or his ability to pause mid-sentence to maximise the impact. Johnson asked plaintively: “Are you sure your viewers wouldn’t want to hear more about housing in London?” It was, he added, a long and lamentable story, to which Mair replied: “OK. But you made a quote up.”

Johnson was cornered. “Well, what happened was that … I ascribed events that were supposed to have taken place before the death of Piers Gaveston to events that actually took place after the death of Piers Gaveston,” he said.

“Yes. You made something up,” Mair replied. Johnson said: “Well, I mean, I mildly sandpapered something somebody said, and yes it’s very embarrassing and I’m very sorry about it.”

With this admission trousered, Mair continued: “Let me ask you about a barefaced lie. When you were in Michael Howard’s team, you denied to him you were having an affair. It turned out you were and he sacked you for that. Why did you lie to your party leader?”

Johnson squirmed. “Well, I mean again, I’m … with great respect … on that, I never had any conversation with Michael Howard about that matter and, you know, I don’t propose …”

Mair interrupted: “You did lie to him.”

Johnson: “Well, you know, I don’t propose to go into all that again.”

Mair: “I don’t blame you.”

Johnson: “No, well why should I? I’ve been through, you know, that question a lot with the, well, watch the documentary. Why don’t we talk about something else?”

Unfortunately for Johnson, Mair was willing to change the subject.

Referring to the documentary, Mair explained: “The programme includes your reaction as you listen to a phonecall in which your friend Darius Guppy asks you to supply the address of a journalist … so that he can have him physically assaulted. The words ‘beaten up’ and ‘broken ribs’ are said to you …”

Johnson replied after snorting about an old story being dragged up. “Yes, it was certainly true that he was in a bit of a state and I did humour him in a long phone conversation, from which absolutely nothing eventuated and … you know, there you go. But I think if any of us had our phone conversations bugged, they might, you know, people say all sorts of fantastical things whilst they’re talking to their friends.”

Mair proceeded to inform, in passing, a dazed Johnson that even convicted fraudster Conrad Black does not quite trust him, before asking him to show some honesty by openly admitting that his ambition is to be prime minister rather than trading in obfuscatory metaphors such as rugby balls emerging from a ruck or saying it is not going to happen.

Mair: “You’re not going to land on the moon either. But do you want to be prime minister. Say it.”

Johnson obfuscated, presumably hoping for something to eventuate, before saying he wanted to do all he could to help Cameron be re-elected – “and in those circumstances it is completelynonsensical for me to indulge, you know, this increasingly hysterical …”

Mair: “You could end it all just by saying what you know to be true. What should viewers make of your inability to give a straight answer to a straight question?”

By now most viewers are hiding behind their sofa, or telling their gawking children to look away, or ringing the BBC begging them to show the test card.

With the clock running down, Johnson desperately tries to mount a recovery, saying he disputes Mair’s interpretations. Then he resorts to the old standby: “What viewers want to know is …”

He said: “They don’t care about phone conversations with my friends 20 years ago, they don’t care about some ludicrous, so-called made-up quote, and what’s the third accusation? I can’t remember …”

“Lying to Michael Howard,” Mair reminds him, before Johnson finally collapses in a heap, his lights, pannier bag and reputation strewn across the bicycle lane.”

Guardian letters: The East Devon voting experience and its implications

Guardian letters today:

“Writing of Ed Miliband’s revision of party membership rules as “his greatest error” is not just old news, it’s fake news too (Labour members built networks. Now Corbyn must too, 19 June), which Zoe Williams rightly recognises as negative commentary, repudiated by Jeremy Corbyn’s actual performance through – and out the other side of – the election campaign.

However, it is clear that Zoe needs to take the temperature outside of the capital – as John Harris has done so successfully – where she will find that people have made careful assessments to desert their “natural tribe” to support the best-placed candidate.

In East Devon – a very traditional Tory seat that includes chunks of Exeter, which returns a Labour MP – more than 21,000 people opted to support an independent candidate. The Labour leadership would be wilfully blind to continue running there, thus ensuring the inevitable return of the Tory incumbent. The notion of a progressive alliance took root without instructions from elsewhere; now it must be nurtured by a newly confident Labour leadership.

Les Bright
Exeter, Devon”

DCC community hospitals stitch up – part 2

“Councillors have delayed a decision to refer “Orwellian” plans to close hospital beds across Devon to the Health Secretary after a bad-tempered meeting at County Hall.

Placard-waving protesters gathered outside Devon County Council’s Exeter headquarters today to demand that controversial NHS plans be sent to Jeremy Hunt.

Critics of the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) scheme to close community hospital beds in Exeter, Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton, packed into a meeting of the health scrutiny committee on Monday.

A string of opponents were invited to speak and criticised the CCG for failing to demonstrate how adequate care would be provided in the community.

Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton Martin Shaw said the CCG has never made the case for the “unmanageable” and “Orwellian” plan.

Fellow independent councillor for Ottery St Mary Claire Wright told the committee that a raft of assurances had failed to materialise from the CCG despite repeated requests.

Devon County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee had previously objected to the decision by NEW Devon CCG to reduce the number of community hospital beds in Eastern Devon from 143 to 72 and regardless of cost no bed closures be made until it is clear there was sufficient community care provision.”

They said: “If adequate assurances are not given to the above and the issues set out below, the CCG’s decision be referred to the Secretary of State for Health on the grounds that it was not in the in the interests of the health service in the area and the consultation was flawed and there is no clear explanation of what care at home will look like or work and this model has frequently been mixed up with Hospital at Home which is entirely different.

Representatives from the CCG, who were questioned by the committee, asked councillors to work with them locally in a “constructive way” rather than involving Mr Hunt.

A spokeswoman said 200 staff were under consultation as the new plan to provide home care took shape.

However, they failed to satisfy members of the newly-formed committee on 14 separate grounds drawn up by the previous committee prior to the May election.

Ms Wright proposed a motion to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health, which was seconded by Liberal Democrat former county council leader Brian Greenslade.

Conservatives on the committee questioned the usefulness of such a referral, a complicated procedure which requires that a fully-financed alternative plan be submitted.

A suggestion by committee chairman Sarah Randall Johnson that a decision on the referral be postponed until September was met with jeering from the public gallery.

Protesters shouted down the move, claiming time is pressing as bed closures have already begun, prompting the chairman to threaten to clear the meeting.

After two hours of debate, an amendment which postponed the decision unto an emergency meeting no later than the end of July was unanimously agreed.

Speaking after the meeting, campaigner Gillian Pritchett, who chairs the group Save Our Hospital Services in Honiton, said she was “totally unhappy” with the decision.

“Beds are being closed, the system is already in place,” she told Devon Live.

“The whole thing is a waste of time as (the CCG) will continue to close beds.”

Ms Wright said the meeting had been “incredibly frustrating”

“There was incontrovertible evidence to refer this to the Secretary of State,” she added.

“Those 14 grounds the committee came up with still stood.”

Sarah Randall-Johnson postpones decision on community hospital bed closures

Apparently, she and other Tory councillors decided her committee didn’t have time to study the CCG’s response to their earlier meeting and the CCG needs more time too.


What do you think?

Awaiting more news from independent EDDC councillors Claire Wright (on the committee) and Martin Shaw (newly elected East Devon Alliance DCC councillor).

Crucial health meeting at DCC this afternoon

“Devon County Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee will today examine the case for closing 72 community beds across Eastern Devon to see whether it can be justified.Back at the March health scrutiny meeting it appeared that a decision had been made in a huge hurry with a large range of important issues left unresolved. See my report of that meeting here –

The Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group has now responded to the proposal I made at the last health scrutiny committee, requiring justification on 14 grounds.

It was agreed at the March committee that if those grounds were not deemed to be satisfactory, then the committee would have the option of referring the decision to the Secretary of State for Health. I have read the paperwork and corresponding related papers and I don’t believe there the slightest justification for the decision to halve the remaining community hospital beds in Eastern Devon.

The meeting is held at County Hall and starts at 2.15pm and will be live webcast here – Here are the agenda papers -


Which old nag will Swire back next time?

Swire was all for May – both Remainers who turned.

He fought (or rather didn’t fight) the election on her being the right woman for the job – “strong and stable” and our only hope to avoid a ‘coalition of chaos’.

We now face a ‘coalition of chaos’ of Tories and the DUP and May is almost certainly on her way out. Who will Swire back next? Perhaps BoJo – an old Etonian who will almost certainly want his old schoolmates around him.

And don’t forget, Swire (who complained of ‘vile comments’ about him in the election) has issued no censure of his good mate George Osborne – who described Mrs May as a “dead woman walking”.

Please, Claire Wright run again! Please!