No “new” hospital money for Devon

The “new” money for hospitals, announced by Boris Johnson, is actually money for projects already agreed but where funding had not been released. Suddenly the “magic money tree” has sprouted new leaves and plans for 20 projects are being given the go-ahead.

None are in Devon.

Most are in leave constituencies.

“Boris Johnson will upgrade hospitals in Leave-voting seats as he attempts to see off the electoral threat from the Brexit Party.

The Prime Minister has announced a £850million funding boost to add hundreds of new hospital beds and improve facilities in 20 hospitals across the country.

The money, which will be spent predominantly in Leave-voting constituencies, is part of a £1.8billion funding boost for the NHS, in addition to the £20bn a year Theresa May pledged for the NHS.

The new money will be funded by dipping into Philip Hammond’s £26.6billion “fiscal headroom”, a Downing Street spokesman said. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/04/boris-johnson-pledges-hospital-upgrades-leave-voting-seats-attempts/

How has Devon fared under Theresa May?

Badly – crime, education, homelessness and health and social care have all got much worse, only unemployment has improved with the gig econony and zero hours contracts:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/how-devon-changed-under-theresa-3123246

NHS privatisation : follow the money – £9.2 billion to be precise

On the back of this article saying £9.2 billion has already gone from the NHS to private companies:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/21/private-firms-nhs-budget-matt-hancock-promise?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

It’s good to be reminded of this oldie:

Clinton Devon Estates and Newton Poppleford – a lesson from Budleigh Salterton

The people of Budleigh Salterton would advise the people of Newton Poppleford not to hold out much hope in acquiring a surgery or anything of benefit to the village. (see East Devon Watch 11 July) They have been down a very similar route with Clinton Devon Estates.

The failure of the BS Neighbourhood Plan to include all the hospital garden as open space, leaving only under a half leased to the new hospital hub left Clinton Devon Estates controlling the other half. A planning application was submitted for the construction of 2 open market dwellings and associated access in its plot. Like Newton Poppleford the estate lodged an appeal against the delay in making a decision by EDDC. However, the Inspector turned down this on appeal concluding that the benefit to the town of building two houses in the garden was outweighed by the negative effect upon the recreational space within this part of Budleigh Salterton.

“In the absence of evidence to indicate that the remaining garden would adequately meet the needs of visitors to the health and well-being hub, in relation to this main issue, the proposal would have a negative effect upon availability of recreational space within this part of Budleigh Salterton, contrary to LP Strategy 6. The proposal would not result in an enhancement of the retained garden and so would not comply with LP Policy RC1.”

So what did CDE do? Did this estate whose motto is

DOING TODAY WHAT IS RIGHT FOR TOMORROW

allow the continued access to this land which cottage hospital patients had enjoyed since 1887?

No, the estate chose to ignore the spirit of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision.

They erected a fence. I am sure many of Owl’s readers have seen the “abomination” (BS Journal Feb. 15 2018) and may have seen children confined to playing in just under a half of the garden.

So those patients living in Newton Poppleford and seeking to consult their GP will have to continue to travel to Ottery St Mary. (Remember that Newton Poppleford is within the Ottery St. Mary practise boundary, not the nearer Sidmouth!) If they rely on public transport there is no direct bus route, patients have to travel into Exeter and out again, a distance of around 23 miles with a round trip time of at least 2hrs 30 mins. (and don’t ask about the cost)!

NHS: Councils vow to fight £2.35bn business-rates court challenge

“The Local Government Association (LGA) will support 45 councils defending a challenge to business rates levied on NHS hospital properties that could see £2.35bn clawed back and set a significant precedent.

Consultants advising a group of 17 NHS trusts challenging the business rates on their properties said this week that a High Court trial has now been set for a test case in which Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the others will seek 80% relief on its rates bill.

The move aims to gain the same charitable-status rates relief enjoyed by many private healthcare operators and, according to property firm Altus Group, would see the affected trusts get mandatory relief on their business rates backdated to April 2010 – costing town halls and the government around £2.35bn.

Data released by Altus ranked the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, as the biggest single source of business rates payments to any council affected by the challenge.

It said the hospital would pay £9.16m in business rates in the current financial year to Tower Hamlets Council in London.

Altus said the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and Bristol’s Southmead Hospital will pay £7.15m and £5.99m respectively to their local collecting authorities.

NHS Trusts – and other organisations – have the right to challenge their business rate assessments if they believe they are not fair and correct.

However, formal advice pre-dating the 2017 revaluation suggested trusts are not entitled to relief under Section 47 of the Local government Finance Act 1988 as they were not considered charitable organisations but public-sector funded organisations with boards of directors and rather than trustees.

The LGA, which is the lobby group that represents the vast majority of English councils, said it would back town halls involved in the November challenge on that basis.

“The LGA is supporting member councils who have received applications for mandatory relief from business rates on behalf of a number of NHS trusts and are working with them,” it said.

“We have sought legal advice from counsel.

“We believe that NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts are not charities, and that the applications for rate relief are therefore unfounded.”

Altus Group said around one in four private hospitals are registered as charities – and benefit from the 80% mandatory business rates relief.

It said Nuffield Health, is the UK’s third largest charity by income.

Altus head of UK business rates Robert Hayton said many people would consider it “iniquitous” that NHS hospitals were treated like businesses and called on the government to end the dispute before the Derby-led case came to trial.

“If the case was successful it risks setting a precedent for other deserving public services with the significant loss in revenue which goes to fund essential public services having to shift to businesses at the next revenue neutral revaluation in 2021 at a time when the tax burden is already far too high,” he said.

The court case is scheduled for trial at the Royal Courts of Justice in the week commencing 4 November.”

Councils vow to fight £2.35bn business-rates court challenge

“Research highlights worrying need for hospital emergency beds”

Owl says: you could not make this up.

“Hospitals in England are relying on backup beds to carry out routine care, research has found.

Hospitals in England are relying on backup beds to carry out routine care, research has found.

Reliance on emergency beds suggests NHS trusts are at a “critical stage” and struggling to cope with demand, the British Medical Association has said.

The BMA submitted two waves of Freedom of Information requests to all 134 acute trusts in England in March and May 2019, which revealed the extent to which ‘escalation beds’ were being used routinely.

The first round of data received responses from 105 trusts showing that there were 3,428 escalation beds in operation.

In May, according to responses from 54 trusts, there were 1,637 instances of the these beds being used, though the BMA noted that due to a lower response rate, the real figure is likely to be higher.

The beds are only supposed to be used in emergencies and when there is a spike in demand.

Rob Harwood, BMA consultants committee chair, said: “The use of escalation beds is a sign that trusts are at a critical stage and are unable to cope with demand with their current bed stock.

“Some hospitals are forced to designate their theatre recovery beds as ‘escalation’, resulting in elective surgical operation being cancelled as there is no space for those patients who need immediate care after their surgery.”

Harwood noted that the pressure on capacity can see patients placed on beds in corridors and overcrowding treatment areas.

The BMA said that while escalation beds were traditionally used mainly in the winter, this was no longer the case as the number used in the first week of April was comparable to those in early January. There was an average of 20 escalation beds used per trust in early April and the start of January.

A total of 3,000 extra beds are needed to stop routine use of escalation beds outside of winter, while up to 10,000 are needed to bring occupancy to safe levels, the BMA estimated.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow Health Secretary, said: “The use of escalation beds is yet another sign that hospitals are struggling to cope under continued pressure. We know this is compromising patient care.”

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2019/06/research-highlights-worrying-need-hospital-emergency-beds