“East Devon has one of the highest rates of excess winter deaths in the South West, official figures show” and stiil community beds close!Disgraceful!

“Around 26% more people died in winter than in summer on average, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Across the rest of the South West, that figure is 18%.

Every year, more people die in winter than in summer – due to colder temperatures, respiratory diseases and outbreaks of flu.

To measure the impact, the ONS compares the number of additional deaths between December and March to the rest of the year.

During the winter of 2016/17, the latest period figures are available, there were approximately 150 excess winter deaths in East Devon.

This meant 26% more people died during winter in East Devon, compared with the yearly average.

This was higher than in the previous year when there were 12% more deaths during winter.

According to the ONS, small population sizes can cause a significant amount of year-on-year variation at a local level.

Across the South West, winter was most deadly for people aged 85 and older.

Out of 3,130 excess winter deaths in the South West, 3,120 were older than 65, and 2,090 older than 85.

Across England and Wales, the rate of excess winter deaths varies from as low as 4% to as high as 51%.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said that the data raised concerns ‘as to why there is such variation even between areas in a single region’.

He said: “This data must act as a prompt to those in power to look at these trends and recognise that the capacity of the health service is being stretched beyond all measures in winter.

“We have an older, frailer population with increasingly complex medical problems, a lack of funding across health and social care to meet demand, a recruitment crisis and persistently poor performance.”

Provisional data for England and Wales shows that excess winter deaths hit their highest level in more than 40 years during 2017/18.

There were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths, 45% higher than the previous year.

Health think tank the King’s Fund said it was concerned that this ‘could be the start of a trend of periodically high winter deaths’.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that the 2017/18 figures ‘were likely the result of a combination of flu and cold weather’.

A spokesman said: “We know flu is difficult to predict – that’s why this year we have a stronger vaccine for over-65s, and have made more vaccines available than ever before.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/east-devon-winter-deaths-nhs-figures-1-5812512

Twiss gets his words into a twist – ANOTHER reason we need independent councillors!

This time from the blog of DCC EDA councillor Martin Shaw.

“Conservative County Councillor for Honiton, Phil Twiss told Devon County Council on 4th October that ‘Sonja Manton [Director of Strategy for the Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups] said at the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee the other week that there no plans to close any community hospitals in our area. We were talking about Seaton, Honiton and Axminster at the time.’

I was surprised that he should give us this good news in passing, and that the CCG had made no announcement of something so obviously important. So eventually I watched the webcast of the Health Scrutiny meeting on September 20th. Although Sonja Manton spoke several times, I couldn’t find her saying anything like what Phil said – indeed anything about community hospitals at all.

So I emailed Sonja and she confirms she didn’t speak about the hospitals. As for the issue, all she would say was, ‘I can assure you that our continued focus remains on planning and commissioning services and support to meet the needs of the Devon population in the best possible way. We recognise how strongly communities feel about community hospital buildings and will continue to work with communities and stakeholders to modernise and evolve the way our services are delivered and where they are based to make sure we make best use of all our resources and public estate.‘

So was Sonja more forthcoming at another, presumably private, meeting, Phil? Or was what you said wishful thinking?”

@philtwiss’claim that @SonjaManton said ‘there are no plans to close any community hospitals in our area’, not backed up by @NEWDevonCCG. What’s the explanation, Phil?

Why we need independent councillors

From the blog of Claire Wright. The review would NOT be happening without Claire’s dogged persistence (and similar action by EDA Independent Councillor Martin Shaw. Without them these issues would be kicked into the very, very long grass!

“A Devon wide review of how carers are coping will take place, following my successful proposal at last month’s Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting.

I had been carrying out research into this area since January, when I asked for more information on a scrutiny report, which suggested that carers may be struggling.

I had a meeting with officers and asked for a report of a focus group that was carried out last autumn (2017). …

The results (which I was asked not to publish) were worrying. In almost all areas carers who took part indicated that they were worse off, or saw services being poorer.

What came out strongly to me that the three key areas of health, financial support and respite care, were all deemed as being poorer, according to the carers who took part.

I proposed a review at the June scrutiny committee meeting but chair, Sara Randall Johnson suggested a meeting with Devon Carers staff first, at the Westbank League of Friends. Devon Carers is commissioned to provide support for carers in the Devon County Council area.

This was a useful meeting. What emerged for me, among other issues, was that under the Care Act 2014, the bar has been raised by the government for both financial support and for respite care so it is now harder to access. I am quite certain that this is partly the reason that carers are finding things tougher.

I asked for a further agenda item for the September Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting. I invited two carers who had asked for my help – Maureen Phillips and Mary Hyland, who gave powerful and moving presentations of their experiences of caring. Maureen, for her father and Mary for her partner.

Mary said there is no respite care available. And that overnight she became a carer, she was thrown into it, she knew nothing about it and had to give up her job. She has no support and finds it hard to even leave the house. Previously, she was a very outgoing person, even having her own programme on BBC Radio Devon. She said she was there on behalf of all local carers. Everyone is finding things hard.

The committee was silent.

Maureen said she had been the carer to her father for eight years. Life is exhausting, demanding, frustrating and isolating, she said. Maureen said specialist support workers are required. She said both she and her father need emotional support. She asked who she should turn to when things get tough. There is a shortage of care workers. In the last eight years she had one holiday. She had to take her father with her. Maureen said she had to fight for every bit of support. She has turned to the services of a solicitor in desperation.

When I made the proposal for a spotlight review at the September meeting, it was seconded by the chair and agreed by the committee. I hope to have a date for the first meeting soon.

We need your help! If you would like to take part by giving your story to the spotlight review, please get in touch at claire@claire-wright.org – many thanks

Here’s the webcast: You can see Mary’s and Maureen’s presentation under public participation – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/359701

The agenda item itself is under number 12..”

http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/scrutiny_review_to_take_place_into_how_devon_carers_are_coping

Why do we have such incompetent people running the country?

A theory (Guardian comment):

“For the last twenty or so years the Tories have neglected their structure of local branches. As a result they now have a tiny membership. Their declared figure of 124,000 is almost certainly falsely inflated. If you do the arithmetic on their declared income from subs, the only membership figure that makes any sense is somewhere around 41,000.

As a result many local branches are moribund and have been for years. Local branches were not just sources of income. They were also schools for rising talent. So with no schools for rising talent for quite some time, the Tories now do not have any talent at any level of their organisation.”

Missing word round …..

There is a word in the middle of the top line of these notices but it has been printed smaller and in the lightest of colours so as to be almost invisible.

Can you guess what it is?

The word is: CONSERVATIVE!

Anyone would think the Sidmouth Conservative Club was ashamed of the word!

Oh, right …

West Country Tory MP feels completely out of place in his party

“A Tory backbencher has criticised the government and said he would not have stood as an MP “if the situation was like it is now”.

Johnny Mercer told The House magazine he was no longer sure that his “set of values and ethos” were still “aligned with the Conservative Party”.

The party had “lost focus” on fighting for what it believed in and instead was focused on “technocrats and managers”.

Mr Mercer, an ex-Army officer, has said he never voted until he became an MP
The MP for Plymouth Moor View has been critical of the party before, telling the Telegraph in 2017 it was “in danger of losing credibility”.

In his interview with The House, Mr Mercer – who was first elected in 2015 – was critical of Prime Minister Theresa May’s response to a questions about investigations into Northern Ireland veterans, saying “she did not answer in a way that made me proud to be a member of the governing party”.

And, of her Chequers blueprint for post-Brexit relations with the EU, he said: “That is your classic professional politicians’ answer because it’s right down the middle. It doesn’t make anybody happy. It’s the ultimate in not making a decision.”

He said, “under this chief whip, under this prime minister, there is no role for people like me” but added: “That’s fine because nothing lasts forever.” He admitted he would like to be defence secretary – Mr Mercer has campaigned for veterans, including those with mental health problems.

Mr Mercer said that while his “set of values and ethos” had been aligned with the Conservative Party, “I’m not as comfortable that that’s the case anymore.”

And he added: “If the situation was like it is now, I can safely say there would be absolutely no chance that I would try and be a member of Parliament.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45905581