Breathtaking hypocrisy of DCC Tories on Adult Health Scrutiny Committee

Below is a story about Sara Randall, Chair of the Adult Health Scrutiny Committee and a County Councillor for Broadclyst, Richard Scott, a committee member and Exmouth County Councillor and Phil Twiss, a committee member and Honiton County Councillor meeting with carers. Sue Younger-Ross and a DCC Officer Timothy Ridgeway were also attendance.

These are Tory councillors who have continuously and viciously thwarted the Herculean efforts of Independent Councillor Claire Wright to get a fair deal for carers, to investigate the county’s provision for health and social care and refused to discuss any aspect of Devon’s Clinical Commissioning Group’s massive funding cuts. A group which also refused to fight the closure of community hospitals in Axminster, Honiton, Seaton and Ottery St Mary, (though Twiss did make a very mild stand, knowing full well he would be outvoted by his pals).

It is a sure sign there is an election brewing and a breathtaking exercise in hypocrisy.

The article is here:

https://honiton.nub.news/n/honiton-carers-meet-the-county-councils-scrutiny-committee

Data used to justify fire station closures – allegation of serious flaws which should lead to withdrawal of consultation document

Owl has received a link to a communication to Sarah Randall Johnson, DCC Chair of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority about Fire Station closures and the data used to justify them.

This is somewhat technical, but the substance is that the allegation seems to be that Fire Service has manipulated data (possibly without realising it but possibly deliberately) to present it in a way that is more favourable to them. The writer urges that, because of serious flaws, the document should be withdrawn.

Owl is no mathematician and leaves it to those who are of a more mathematical nature to challenge the assertions made:

“Consultation document misleading, over 600,000 people face increased life risk

My email to Sara Randall Johnson, Chair of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority, sent yesterday:

Dear Fire Authority Chair,

Whilst I am sure you were unaware, the consultation document you have put your name to is deliberately misleading. Sadly, it appears this has been done to deceive the residents of Devon & Somerset and I would urge you to withdraw the document.

My experience of FSEC modelling made me doubt the claims made by ACFO Pete Bond in his BBC interview on 2nd July, so I submitted questions to the Safer Together Programme Team. Their answers, and another D&SF&RS document (attached), confirm my suspicions that the presentation of the risk modelling outcomes are deliberately misleading.

The reduced risk claim is frankly fraudulent, as it is based on a comparison for the future, which assumes all the service’s fire engines are available, with the current situation, which assumes several fire engines are not available. The excuse given is that crewing and contract changes will ensure all appliances will be available in future. That is outrageous speculation and it is highly unlikely that will ever be achieved.

So, the only honest and responsible method is to compare current theoretical full availability with future theoretical full availability. That comparison shows, although not very clearly in the public consultation document, an extra death every other year on option 5 (25 extra in dwellings and 22 extra in RTCs in 100 years). A figure that will be higher, as not all deaths have been included in the results. Fire deaths not in dwellings, which in some years have exceeded those in dwellings, and deaths at non-fire incidents, other than road traffic collisions, have not been included.

The figure shown for RTCs is also highly suspicious, as the service saves many more lives at RTCs than it does at dwelling fires. Delayed responses will therefore impact more on RTC fatalities than on dwelling fire fatalities. FSEC modelling in other fire & rescue services show that for every extra death in a dwelling fire there can be 15 extra deaths in non-fire incidents, as a direct result of longer response times.

Although the reply I received states that the modelling for RTCs was based on attendance times for the first two fire engines, the figures in the consultation document suggest that is not the case. In option 5, fourteen second fire engines are taken out of use during the day, yet it is claimed that will make no difference to RTC fatalities (same result as for option 4). This suggests that the figures used in the consultation document are for first fire engine only, so once again deliberately misleading. It is also concerning that modelling figures have not been provided for property damage, which is also certain to increase if the proposals go ahead.

The figures for option 6 are also dubious and wholly unreliable. I am told that the roving fire engines were “in certain locations for the purpose of the modelling”. Whilst there may be odd occasions when a roving fire engine happens to be near enough to an incident to provide an improved response time, the random nature of emergencies means there is a much higher probability that it will not. Evidence of this unreliability can be found in the Analytical Comparison of Community Impacts from Service Delivery Operating Model document, dated June 2019. This is stated to be “the evidence base to assess the impact of changes to our Service Delivery Operating Model”. This shows the outcomes for options 5 and 6 as the same, which means there is no improvement on response times for roving fire engines.

Whilst the Analytical Comparison document seems generally more accurate than the consultation document, there are still some concerning conclusions in it. For example, on page 45, the increased response time shown for Porlock and Woolacombe, if they are closed, is just two to five minutes. Yet the nearest fire engines are Minehead and Ilfracombe respectively, both six miles away. Even Lewis Hamilton could not achieve that on those roads in even light traffic. Similarly, the map on page 46 shows day crewing at Barnstaple only increasing first pump response time by one to two minutes. The reality is that at night, with On Call Firefighters responding from home, it would be an increase of around four minutes. These outputs suggest the results have been manipulated to appear less severe.

However, what the Analytical Comparison document does reveal is that over 600,000 residents will face an increased risk to their lives if the full proposals are carried out (262,486 households x 2.3 average occupancy = 603,718 people). That detail should not be kept secret, the public deserve to know before responding to the consultation. It is also very disturbing that the station risk profiles for every fire station have suddenly been removed from the D&SF&RS website. Removing recent (2018/19) performance information during a consultation is not being responsible and accountable.

I would add that I requested copies of the actual modelling data used, but this has not been supplied.

I can’t believe that you would be happy about the public and Fire Authority Members being misled in this way. Please have the document withdrawn and postpone the consultation until a revised document can be published showing full, accurate and honest details of the impact of these cuts. Given the seriousness of this matter I have copied this email to Fire Authority Members and other concerned parties.

Yours sincerely
Name notshown”

https://stopfirecutsdevonandsomerset.blogspot.com/2019/07/consultation-document-misleading-over.html

Profile of blogger of above information (Tony Morris):

“I spent 32 years in the fire service in Bedfordshire and West Sussex. My last six years in the service were as Operational Planning Officer responsible for contingency planning. I was then Senior Emergency Management Adviser for West Sussex County Council for 15 years, covering all areas of emergencies and business continuity.

I served on several inter-agency groups at local, regional and national level dealing with major incident procedures & training, maritime and airport emergencies, incidents involving hazardous materials (CBRN, COMAH etc.), telecommunications and other critical infrastructure.

I have studied how fire services operate and how major incidents are handled in different parts of the World. All this has given me a good understanding of the complexities of emergencies and how to deal with them, as well as a keen eye to spot inadequacies in planning, training or resources.

Now fully retired I am free to challenge ill-considered cuts to the fire & rescue service and my blogs are intended to alert the public to the truth behind the spin. The first blog covered West Sussex, where I live, and the second Devon, where I was born and raised.”

Bad news on fire service station cuts

And the bad news is: the chair of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Authority is none other than our old pal and former Leader of EDDC, Sarah Randall-Johnson – you know, the person who consistently voted down any scrutiny of the Devon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, and took her Tory committee members along with her.

Oh dear.

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/sexism-row-at-fire-authority-meeting-after-councillor-calls-serving-officers-firemen-1-6135395

Swire accuses Ottery hospital campaigners of “weaponising” their cause

In an extraordinary rant – no cancel that, Swire seems to be ranting much of the time these days so it isn’t at all extraordinary! – Swire accuses those campaigning for the retention of beds (gone)and services (some) remaining of “weaponising” Ottery St Mary hospital. By implication, he appears to include his arch-enemy, Claire Wright in this “weaponisation” (aka peaceful campaigning).

In a recent Exmouth Journal article (which they will presumably allow campaigners to respond to as a right to reply) he says:

“Regrettably, Ottery Hospital has been weaponised by an anti-Tory coalition for nigh on ten years with them telling a naturally alarmed local community that it will be sold off or closed. I have spent 10 years trying to counter this scaremongering. … “

He then goes on to puff up his recent visit to Ottery – well what do tou call a hospital with no beds? – let’s say “closed community bed building” with the new Secretary of State for Health, when said Secretary refused to meet tireless campaigner Claire Wright and other local people who are keeping up the pressure on him and his mates – though rumour has it that Sarah Randall-Johnson was somewhere in his vicinity. You know, the woman who thinks her DCC committee has no need to scrutinise these changes.

SWIRE MAKES NO MENTION OF THE FACT THAT THE MINOR INJURIES UNIT AND ALL INPATIENT BEDS HAVE ALREADY BEEN CLOSED AT THE HOSPITAL DURING THIS SO-CALLED 10 YEARS!!!!!!!

He says we must look to the future not back at the past and see how our changing needs can be met.

Owl has a suggestion: with the ageing population in East Devon how about a Minor Injuries Unit and Community Hospital beds?

Report that Randall-Johnson was with Swire and Minister of Health at Ottery St Mary

“If you thought Health Secretary Matt Hancock was a safe pair of hands for the NHS after Jeremy Hunt think again. Comedy antics ensued when the Hancock turned up at Ottery hospital. First he hid, then he hurried.

Matt may well have been doing a favour for a rich mate, East Devon money-bags MP Hugo Swire, but at what price, making him appear a hapless lacky to East Devon’s Tory elite.

Hugo by-passed the Department of Health to take Matt hospital surfing. They went to Budleigh Salterton Hospital, before popping into in Ottery.

East Devon Councillor and Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee Councillor Claire Wright was on hand, along with some residents, to ask the Health Secretary some questions.

Unfortunately, he was holed up solely with a number of East Devon Tories, including Sara Randall Johnson, chair of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee. East Devon MP, Mr Swire and his aides were also present.

Have a read of Claire’s account. It certainly seems weird, so does the behaviour of the communication people of the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

‘Why was he so frightened about talking to a dozen residents, and the local county councillor?’ asks Claire.

‘I had been quite encouraged that he was visiting the hospital and wanted to hear from him that he will protect Ottery’s and other hospitals. After all, Mr Hancock commands the NHS and also NHS Property Services, which now owns many hospital buildings in the area.

‘They are all at risk of possible closure and sell-off due to the lack of funding available to pay the enormous rents NHS Property Services demands.

‘But his cowardly escape bid simply gave the impression of a man who does not wish to be even remotely accountable.’

But that’s not all. Here’s the response of an East Devon constituent, as posted by Channel 5 News Health Correspondent Catherine Jones (check out the picture).

[There follow many hilarious comments on Swire’s justification for his actions and a You Tube video of Hancock doing a karaoke version of “Can’t Stop Me Now]

http://www.theprsd.co.uk/2018/09/27/first-he-hides-then-he-hurries-health-secretary-hancock-hot-foots-it-on-east-devon-hospital-visit/

DCC Health and Social Care “Scrutiny” – Claire Wright continues her battle

“Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting: A PACKED AGENDA….

I asked for several items, including the future of our community hospitals, the plight of local carers, the local NHS deficit and what is being done to reduce it.

Also, on the agenda is how the local NHS coped with winter pressures (something I have asked for, for months and even resorted to a Freedom Of Information request on – it was refused, I have issued a formal complaint)……..

I have been really disappointed in recent months and years at what I see as a systemic lack of accountability in the NHS. As a Health Scrutiny Committee member, I would expect to get straight answers to straight questions at meetings, but unfortunately this rarely happens, which is why I was forced to submit a Freedom of Information request about a basic set of data tables relating to winter pressures.

I will not hesitate to do this again.

The report on carers starts on page 55 of the link below. This came about after I read a detailed survey and saw that local people who are caring for loved ones may not feel very supported.

I subsequently had a meeting with senior officers and saw the raw (anonymised) data from local focus groups. It was disturbing and it appeared to me that many local carers are having a really hard time managing, because of the government’s austerity agenda. I asked for the report to be referred to the Health Scrutiny Committee, but was told this wasn’t possible as consent had not been given by the participants of the focus group.

A version of the report has been submitted instead. I am pleased that a number of measures have been put in place by officers to try and improve matters, however, I have already told senior officers that leaving out the comments has meant that the voice of carers has been lost, in my view.

I believe that there should have been an attempt to secure retrospective consent for the publication of the report, as without a proper voice, the government will simply carry on ignoring carers’ plight – and they deserve better.

If you want to read the reports – and if you care about our NHS I would urge you to! The link is here
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx

Members of the public are permitted to address the committee in the 15 minute slot at the beginning of the meeting, but need to register four days ahead to do so. Email Gerry.rufolo@devon.gov.uk

The meeting starts at 2.15pm on Thursday 7 June. It will be webcast from this link:

https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

and archived afterwards.

Should Randall-Johnson remain chair of the DCC Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee (or even be a councillor at all?)

We all know our problems with Randall-Johnson as Chair of DCC’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee (or, if not, we should). Here are just a few of many Owl posts on this councillor and her behaviour as its Chair:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/08/12/conduct-of-health-committee-members-investigated-by-devon-council-diviani-and-randall-johnson-heavily-criticised-for-behaviour/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/06/24/claire-wrights-report-on-the-disgraceful-dcc-nhs-meeting-and-its-disgraceful-chairing-by-sarah-randall-johnson/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/08/31/councillor-calls-for-randall-johnson-resignation/

NOW, it seems, she was EXTREMELY reluctant to allow the CCG’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans to be a standing item on her committee’s agenda and inly the intervention of a “committee adviser” led to this being agreed. See Claire Wright’s blog for details:

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

“… Essentially, the NHS in Devon is looking at a £500m overspend by 2020 unless major cuts and centralisation of services take place.

It is absolutely vital that the committee keeps a very close eye on what cuts are to be made and how this is affecting patients. We are their only ears and eyes on this.

When I made this proposal yesterday – that we receive a detailed report at each committee meeting. Chair, Sara Randall Johnson appeared to be reluctant to introduce such a standing item, given all the other issues that needed to be examined.

I could not see her point of view at all. Surely, this is the most important issue facing Devon’s patients today?

Committee adviser, Anthony Farnsworth suggested that councillors have sight of the CCG’s own financial reports relating to the STP on a regular basis and this was a legitimate area of scrutiny. …

This was agreed.

Here’s the webcast – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/318671

What is this woman’s problem? Is it simply that she knee-jerks a “no” on any and every proposal from Independent Claire Wright” – putting personalities before what is best for Devon, its healthcare and its scrutiny? We know she has problems with Ms Wright’s forthright defence of our NHS against cuts and privatisation (though the problem seems to stem from further back when the then Leader of East Devon District Council was ousted from her seat by the likeable, knowledgeable and planning policies aware winning candidate – Claire Wright).

Or is it even more dangerous than that? Putting HER personal political beliefs and ideology above those of others – including moderate DCC Tory councillors – and forcing them on others by whatever means she has at her disposal?

Questions, so many questions, and so few answers.