Seaton councillor to ask searching question of EDDC on NHS

From the blog of DCC Independent East Devon Alliance councillor:

The question to be asked by former Mayor and Seaton Councillor Jack Rowlands:

“EDDC has recently decided not to list Seaton Community Hospital as an asset of community value citing that it does not meet the definition of “social wellbeing”. EDDC has now declined requests from 3 community hospitals in the district giving the same reason each time. Please explain why other district councils in Devon have agreed to list community hospitals as assets of community value e.g. Tyrell Community Hospital in Ilfracombe, Moretonhampstead Community Hospital, Bovey Tracey Community Hospital and Teignmouth Community Hospital.

Why is EDDC interpreting the definition differently to neighbouring district councils on this important issue where our community hospitals may be under threat of being fully closed and sold in the future by NHS Property Services?”

Why has EDDC refused to list Seaton and other community hospitals as ‘assets of community value’, when other Devon districts have done so? Jack Rowland will ask at the EDDC on Wednesday

New National Park for East Devon? Not while people like Diviani are councillors!

This is the aspiration:

“A new Dorset and East Devon National Park could be created.

Cllr Martin Shaw had called for Devon County Council to support the establishment of a Dorset and East Devon National Park and to submit a case for this to the DEFRA review of national parks.

But Devon County Council agreed that any expression of support for the establishment of a Dorset and East Devon National Park should be deferred until the overriding benefit was clearly demonstrated and that it would come from additional funding. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/new-national-park-could-created-2090631

This is the reality (November 2017 and nothing has changed:

It has been suggested that the area might secure some £10million of annual central government funding with more than 90 per cent of this being invested in the local economy.”

Responding to the question, council leader Paul Diviani stated that EDDC is not directly involved in the proposals and awaits further consultation as it progresses through the process of consideration.

When asked if he agrees with claims that a national park would bring significant economic benefits to the district, Cllr Diviani said: “National parks and AONBs are not about making money. The AONBS are much more localised than national parks ever can be.

“It is an opportunistic type of approach that people in Dorset are taking about our assets here in East Devon.”

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/11/09/dorset-positive-about-national-park-we-cant-join-up-as-diviani-doesnt-want-to-lose-control-of-assets/

Community hospitals in Devon lost to nursing homes in privatisation move

“There was a staggering revelation yesterday at Health Scrutiny from Liz Davenport, Chief Executive of South Devon and Torbay NHS Foundation Trust, that they had made ‘block bookings of intermediate care beds in nursing homes’ when they introduced the ‘new model of care’. South Devon has closed community hospitals in Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Paignton and Dartmouth and is currently consulting on the closure of Teignmouth – where I spoke at a rally last Saturday.

The ‘new model of care’ is supposed to mean more patients treated in their own homes, and there does seem to have been an increase in the numbers of patients sent straight home from the main hospitals.

But the idea that all patients can be transferred directly from acute hospitals to home is untrue. There is still a need for the stepping-down ‘intermediate care’ traditionally provided by community hospitals – the only difference is that now it’s being provided in private nursing homes instead.

It’s likely to be cheaper to use private homes, because staff don’t get NHS conditions, and crucially it frees up space in the hospitals so that the CCGs can declare buildings ‘surplus to requirements’ and claim the Government’s ‘double your money’ bonus for asset sales. It seems NEW Devon CCG has also made extensive use of nursing home beds, but we don’t yet know if there were ‘block bookings’.

However the private nursing home solution may not last – DCC’s chief social care officer, Tim Golby, reported that nursing homes are finding it difficult to keep the registered nurses they need to operate, and some are considering reversion to residential care homes.

This may be where the South Devon trust’s long term solution comes in – it had already been reported that it is looking to partner with a private company in a potential £100m deal which will include creating community hubs that contain inpatient beds.

The new model of care is also about privatisation.”

Shock revelation at Health Scrutiny suggests the ‘new model of care’ is more about switching intermediate care from community hospitals to ‘block bookings’ in private nursing homes – saving costs and freeing up assets. How long will it last?

Independents knock some sense into DCC Tories about health and NHS

Thank the Lord for independent Councillor Claire Wright and East Devon Alliance Independent Councillor Martin Shaw

Press Release:

“In a hour-long debate in yesterday’s meeting, the Council adopted proposals which Cllr Claire Wright and I, the two Independent members from East Devon, put forward, in place of the original recommendation by the Cabinet. The ruling Conservative group adopted (with a small addition) the wording of my amendment, which Claire seconded, which proposed to work with to influence NHS decisions ‘in the direction of retaining all community hospitals to be used as health and wellbeing centres for their areas’, in place of the original Cabinet recommendation to merely seek ‘decision making appropriate to individual circumstances, including population need and the quality of building.’

This is an important change in direction by the Council, which is now committed for the first time to work to retain ALL hospitals, as Claire (who proposed the original motion) had requested. The Conservative leader, Cllr John Hart, insisted on adding the words ‘where appropriate’ to my proposal, which we opposed because it provides the NHS with additional leeway to close hospitals. Cllr Hart’s addendum was too much for one Conservative Councillor, Jonathan Hawkins (Dartmouth), who voted with the opposition for my amendment without this addition, in the light of his community’s experience of the closure of Dartmouth Hospital.

The Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups could end this controversy with a clear policy statement that all remaining hospitals will stay open and will be supported as health and wellbeing centres for our communities. Until this happens, Claire and I, with the support of tens of thousands of people around Devon who are fighting for their local hospitals, will continue our campaign. On yesterday’s evidence, we are winning.”

Martin Shaw
Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton & Colyton”

“NHS meeting deemed ‘too political’ for South Devon and Torbay CCG”

From last month:

“If you’re one of those poor saps who just wants the NHS to keep on running and stay away from privatisation, you may be surprised to hear that this is all just a little bit too ‘political’ for the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group.

Commissioning Groups are ‘clinically-led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area’. They were set up by the Tories in cahoots with the Lib Dems, reneging on the promise of no reorganising of the NHS.

Meanwhile, Devon is seeing hospitals close, bed disappear and services stretched. (There may well be something like a Hospital-Air-B&B type of arrangment in the offing, too.)

The Torbay and South Devon Trades Council have arranged a meeting at The Acorn Centre on August 23rd from 6.30pm to 830pm on ‘NHS Health and Social Care Can it Survive as a Public Service’.

NHS… not for health professionals

After seeing the five-point agenda (see below, 1 is an introduction, 4 and 5 are questions) the Clinical Commissioning Group for Torbay and South Devon decided that the topics are for politicians and not for health professionals.

This is despite them being ‘clinically-led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area’.

Hey ho.”

http://www.theprsd.co.uk/2018/08/14/nhs-meeting-deemed-too-political-for-south-devon-and-torbay-ccg/

Owl says: not to worry, it is too political for the DCC Health and Wellbeing Committee too, which rushes all CCG changes through at super-fast speed and on the nod from majority Tory block-voting councillors- too much politics obviously beeing too much for their (and our) pretty little heads.

Despite Independent Councillor Claire Wright and EDA Independent Councillor Martin Shaw really, really wanting a political (and ethical) debate.

Our LEP asked businesses about Brexit – probably not happy with answers

From the blog of East Devon Alliance DCC Councillor Martin Shaw (Seaton and Colyton):

“The Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership (LEP) has belatedly published a report (dated May 2018) on local businesses’ views of Brexit.
This table shows answers to the question, ‘What is your overall assessment at this stage of the likely impact of Brexit on your business?’

POSITIVE (1)
NEGATIVE (9)
Neutral (7)
Mixed (6)
Don’t know (6)

The LEP summarises this table as ‘Businesses’ assessment of the overall impact of Brexit at this stage is quite varied.‘

VARIED? ONE BUSINESS OUT OF 29 THINKS ITS IMPACT WILL BE POSITIVE, COMPARED TO 9 WHO THINK NEGATIVE, AND THAT IS VARIED?

Other findings:

two-thirds of businesses have done no formal planning for Brexit

uncertainty is a big concern

the biggest specific concerns are about are changes to regulatory alignment [i.e. departure from the Single Market] and the speed of customs arrangements [i.e. departure from the Customs Union]

only 1 out of 29 expects it to be positive for their sector; 9 out of 29 expect it to be negative (the rest expect it to be ‘neutral’ or ‘mixed’, or don’t know)

This report (How firms across HotSW are preparing for Brexit, Report to HotSW LEP, Devon County Council and Partners) was prepared in March and April 2018, drawing on interviews conducted in February and March 2018, so it is already seriously out of date.

In the spring, businesses could reasonably have hoped for a deal:

What do businesses think now that May’s government has caved in to Rees-Mogg and ditched plans for a customs union with the EU?

What do they think of the ‘no deal’ scenario?

How are they going to cope if they still haven’t done the formal planning?
It isn’t difficult to guess. And why has this report been so delayed? Why wasn’t it reported earlier to DCC?”

Local Economic Partnership massages local businesses’ anxieties about Brexit: just 1 business out of 29 surveyed thought it would have a ‘positive’ impact, 9 said negative, many were worried – but that is just a ‘quite varied’ assessment according to the LEP!

Devon CCG refuses to reveal crucial figures to independent county councillor

“Beds, beds, beds – Devon’s NHS couldn’t or wouldn’t give me their overall occupancy figure for the recent winter: but they were forced to buy in more capacity and there were ’12-hour trolley breaches’

Devon NHS’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) admitted in a report to Health Scrutiny yesterday that they had been desperately short of beds during the recent winter. They had to buy in extra beds to keep up with more patients staying longer, because of complex conditions. There were ’12-hour trolley breaches’, where patients had to wait more than 12 hours to be seen.

Despite my asking them directly, they did not give a figure for overall occupancy levels, although they did not deny my suggestion that they had been as bad as or worse than the nationally reported level of 95 per cent. (The nationally recommended safe level is 85 per cent.)

Jo Tearle, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Devon CCGs, rebutted my suggestion that cutting community beds had contributed to this crisis, saying that these were not the kind of beds they had needed, and that there had been capacity in community hospitals most of the time. However this suggests that there was no capacity some of the time. It is difficult not to believe that extra community beds wouldn’t have given them more leeway.

Meanwhile, Kerry Storey of Devon County Council indicated the strains that the ‘new model of care’ at home had been under. She said that maintaining personal care at home during the winter had been ‘a real challenge’, requiring ‘creativity and innovation’ – you don’t need much imagination to see that it will have been a real crisis time with frail people at home in isolated areas, care workers and nurses struggling to get through the snow, and staff themselves suffering higher levels of illness.

I and others predicted that because of the closure of community beds, there would be severe pressure on beds in a bad winter or a flu epidemic (and actually, this was not overall a bad winter and the snow episodes were late and short; despite higher levels of flu, there was no epidemic this winter).”

Beds, beds, beds – Devon’s NHS couldn’t or wouldn’t give me their overall occupancy figure for the recent winter: but they were forced to buy in more capacity and there were ’12-hour trolley breaches’

“Free speech” at Devon County Council – only for Tory councillors?

From Martin Shaw, East Devon Alliance for Seaton and Colyton councillor at Devon County Council:

“Conservative Councillor Richard Scott from Exmouth – where the hospital is safe because it’s kept its beds – accused me of ‘abusing the procedure’ when I went along and argued why Seaton and Honiton hospitals, which my constituents use, need to stay open with all the services and clinics currently provided – and more.

Seaton and Honiton were named by Dr Simon Kerr of NEW Devon CCG as being ‘at risk’ in the CCGs’ forthcoming Local Estates Strategy. Although the CCG has denied it has plans to close the hospitals, all local hospitals which have lost their beds – including Axminster, Ottery St Mary and Okehampton – could still be closed.

I was fully within my rights to speak up for my constituents and this was an unworthy personal attack. ClaireWright and deputy chair Nick Way (Lib Dem) both defended me.

When Claire Wright put her motion for the Committee to protect ALL community hospitals, all the Conservative members voted against this and it was defeated.

Martin Shaw
Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton & Colyton

Shock revelation suggests the NHS’s ‘new model of care’ is more about switching intermediate care from community hospitals to ‘block bookings’ in private nursing homes – saving costs and freeing up assets

Martin Shaw, East Devon Alliance councillor for Seaton and Colyton, Devon County Council:

Press release:

“There was a staggering revelation yesterday at Health Scrutiny from Liz Davenport, Chief Executive of South Devon and Torbay NHS Foundation Trust, that they had made ‘block bookings of intermediate care beds in nursing homes’ when they introduced the ‘new model of care’. South Devon has closed community hospitals in Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Paignton and Dartmouth and is currently consulting on the closure of Teignmouth – where I spoke at a rally last Saturday.

The ‘new model of care’ is supposed to mean more patients treated in their own homes, and there does seem to have been an increase in the numbers of patients sent straight home from the main hospitals.

But the idea that all patients can be transferred directly from acute hospitals to home is untrue. There is still a need for the stepping-down ‘intermediate care’ traditionally provided by community hospitals – the only difference is that now it’s being provided in private nursing homes instead.

It’s likely to be cheaper to use private homes, because staff don’t get NHS conditions, and crucially it frees up space in the hospitals so that the CCGs can declare buildings ‘surplus to requirements’ and claim the Government’s ‘double your money’ bonus for asset sales. It seems NEW Devon CCG has also made extensive use of nursing home beds, but we don’t yet know if there were ‘block bookings’.

However the private nursing home solution may not last – DCC’s chief social care officer, Tim Golby, reported that nursing homes are finding it difficult to keep the registered nurses they need to operate, and some are considering reversion to residential care homes.

This may be where the South Devon trust’s long term solution comes in – it had already been reported that it is looking to partner with a private company in a potential £100m dealwhich will include creating community hubs that contain inpatient beds.

The new model of care is also about privatisation.”

Devon County Council Tories kill off community hospitals

From the blog of Claire Wright:

“Seven Conservative councillors today block voted down my proposal to “strongly support” retaining all Devon community hospital buildings and to “strongly oppose” any potential plans to declare them surplus to requirements.

And in what became a rather heated debate, one conservative, Cllr Richard Scott, disgracefully accused the assiduous and polite Independent Seaton councillor, Martin Shaw of abusing his right to address councillors.

I had requested an item on community hospital buildings at today’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting, as there is a continual threat in the air of the possibility that the buildings may be declared surplus to requirements and be sold off. There remains anxiety and concern in local communities as a result.

Last month, NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group was forced to deny they had “any plans” to declare Honiton and Seaton Hospitals surplus to requirements, following comments made at a campaign meeting.

Dr Simon Kerr, the GP who was quoted in the notes published, later said his comments had been misinterpreted.

The Estates Strategy, which will set out what is proposed to be done with the buildings owned by the local NHS, is due out soon, possibly as early as next month.

In presenting my case I set out how the committee had been unable to secure assurances from health service managers for a long time that buildings were safe, that Dartmouth Hospital is being sold off and that the ownership of 12 community hospitals in Eastern Devon was in the hands of NHS Property Services which was charging over £3m rents for the upkeep of the buildings.

I believe these rents are still being met by NHS England, but this is only a temporary measure and soon the bill will fall on the doormat of the deeply in deficit NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

Cllr Brian Greenslade seconded my proposal.

Speaking in support were also Cllr Carol Whitton (Labour) and Cllr Nick Way (Libdem).

For some reason the conservative councillors were all opposed to my proposal. Several said there was no evidence, that it was just speculation that there was even a risk to the buildings.

Conservative councillor, Jeff Trail, didn’t appear to like my proposal but said he thoroughly supported Cllr Carol Whitton’s position, which was rather confusing as she had just said she backed me!

Cllr John Berry didn’t like my recommendation because the committee didn’t own the buildings. He wanted us to write to the CCG to ask what the status of the buildings was instead.

Cllr Sylvia Russell thought she had heard an NHS manager say at some point at today’s meeting that the buildings were safe so there was nothing to worry about. No one else seemed to recall this.

Cllr Richard Scott dismissed my proposal as “speculation” and claimed there was “no evidence” to back up my concerns.

Referring to Cllr Martin Shaw, who had just set out calmly and eloquently the concerns of his own community of Seaton, Cllr Scott added: “In some respects this is an abuse of a right to speak at this committee. There’s nothing here to consider.”

Chair, Sara Randall Johnson, wanted to take account of Paul Crabb’s view, which was that some hospitals might be old and in a poor state of repair, but I said we should have a simple and clear proposal or the CCG would drive a coach and horses through it.

I reminded the committee (yet again) that our committee was the only legally constituted check on health services in the county and it is our job to act on issues of public concern, which this very much was.

I added that it was important to take a position now and before the Estates Strategy was published so our views could inform the strategy.

My words fell on deaf ears. I had genuinely thought, that despite all the past political shenanigans on that committee – and there have been many – that the Conservatives might have backed this one, as not a single member of their own communities would have surely wanted them to vote a different way.

There was every reason for the entire committee to be unanimously in favour of my proposal.

What a huge shame.

Voting in favour: Me, Brian Greenslade (LibDem – Barnstaple North), Nick Way (LibDem – Crediton), Carol Whitton (Labour – St David’s and Haven Banks).

Voting against: (All Conservative): John Berry (Cullompton and Bradninch), John Peart (Kingsteignton and Teign Estuary) Sylvia Russell (Teignmouth) Richard Scott (Lympstone and Woodbury), Paul Crabb (Ilfracombe), Andrew Saywell (Torrington Rural), Jeff Trail (Lympstone and Woodbury)

The debate is available to view at item 10 from this link – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/325480

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