DCC EDA Independent Councillor joins DCC independent Councillor Claire Wright as one of the few NHS champions at DCC

“After the failed Health Scrutiny Committee meeting in July – which has led to repercussions in the County’s Standards and Procedures Committees as well as at EDDC – the full Devon County Council will be asked to look again at the issues on Thursday 5th October. I have proposed the following motion, which Claire Wright will second:

The County Council regrets the failure of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee on 25 July 2017 to be seen to scrutinise the decision of NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to close community hospital beds in Honiton, Okehampton, Seaton and Whipton, especially in the light of the subsequent urgent recommendation by the head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, which is supported by evidence from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the King’s Fund, that more beds need be made available for the coming winter.

Noting also the Standards Committee’s conclusion that events at the Scrutiny Committee meeting ‘may not reflect well on individual members of the Council or upon the Council as a whole’, its recommendations for the Committee’s Chair and its general recommendations to both members and chairs of Scrutiny Committees, the County Council therefore

requests the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise those issues identified by the County Solicitor in her paper for 25 July which were not directly and fully addressed at the Scrutiny Committee in that meeting;
consistent with the Council’s ‘community champion’ role, alerts the Secretary of State to the strength of feeling in the locality at the overall STP process throughout the County and the significant numbers of objections made by the public to the CCG’sproposals and that in the interests of democracy and democratic accountability he might wish to satisfy himself that all relevant process were properly undertaken and assessed and that the CCGs subsequent decisions are supported by the evidence; and
welcomes the agreement of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee to examine, subject to the advice of the County Solicitor, means of safeguarding community hospital buildings throughout Devon as facilities for the provision of place-based health services.

Seaton and Axminster – combined health hub?

As I have reported before, Seaton Town Council, the League of Friends and I have been discussing the future of Seaton Hospital in the light of the removal of the beds. Full details of the proposals have not been finalised, so I can only quote the report of Councillor Jack Rowland, Mayor of Seaton, to next Monday’s Town Council:

‘The next campaign is to ensure that the site is retained with a compelling case for retaining the existing services and extending these. To this end I attended a meeting on 6 September to discuss the next steps. I cannot give fuller details at this stage, but broadly the idea is to set up a Steering Committee for an Axe Valley Health Hub and to work in conjunction with Axminster to build a case for retaining both sites with complementary services.’ “

After the failure of the July Scrutiny meeting, I am asking Devon County Council to look again at hospital bed closures on 5th October

Diviani no confidence vote defeated – Tories stand by their man, even though he ignored them in DCC health vote

For – 18
Against – 31
Abstain – 1
shouts of shame from the public

Diviani’s statement show in photographs in the article along with councillors comments

Mayor of Seaton said:

“The stance of the closure of the hospital beds is well-known in trying to get them saved. On April 1 at a meeting, Cllr Diviani attended a meeting and was vociferous in wanting the beds to remain open.

But I don’t know what evidence that he has seen that supports the closures, particularly about supporting the care at home model.

I don’t see evidence that rapid response is working 24 hours a day.

I was disappointed with how the DCC meeting was chaired, but I couldn’t listen to Cllr Diviani as his microphone was switched off for the whole meeting.

CCG still not provided any compelling evidence about the new model”


Independent councillor challenges Councillor Mike Allen’s letter on Tories and NHS

Independent East Devon Alliance councillor Martin Shaw (Seaton and Colyton) makes this observation on EDDC Tory councillor Mike Allen’s attempt to distance other EDDC and DCC councillors from Leader Diviani’s actions which led to the vote of no confidence meeting at EDDC tonight.

(Assemble Knowle 5.30 pm if you wish to make your presence felt for this meeting)

“It is not credible to say that Diviani acted alone – he may not have consulted other district councils, but remember that three of the East Devon Tories on Health Scrutiny (Randall Johnson and Richard Scott as well as Diviani) voted for ditching the hospital beds, with only Twiss against and Jeff Trail absent. Even at the time of the County Council elections in May, E Devon Conservatives advocated ‘bedless hospitals’, so Mike Allen’s story doesn’t add up. If they back Diviani tonight they will be consistent with their party’s betrayal of Honiton and Seaton.”

Letter referred to in post below and above:

[Seaton] “Pensioners ‘with vendetta against open top bus’ accused of vandalism”

AT LAST more information – from a London newspaper! And one might question the logic of people buying homes in front of an existing coach park and then finding it a problem!

“A group of pensioners have been accused of launching a vendetta against an open-top bus service.

Derek Gawn, 64, believes his 1950s buses have been targeted by residents living in flats that overlook a pus park where they stop.

He said that drivers have faced abusive language and have had pictures taken of them by angry locals.

On one occasion he said wheel nuts were loosened on his buses while in the past he’s found his buses blocked in by their cars.

The final straw for Mr Gawn came when he believes someone set up fake Facebook accounts to give low reviews and to impersonate a councillor to complain about it.

Mr Gawn said the ‘whining and moaning’ objectors had caused him so much stress that he has decided to withdraw the popular service which has been used by 20,000 people this year.

He started up the venture three years ago to take passengers on a scenic tour of Beer, Colyton and Seaton in Devon and Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset.

The main flash point has been the bus park on the seafront at Seaton next to the block of flats which was built in 2002.

Mr Gawn said: ‘The open top bus tour has been withdrawn due to hostility from a small minority of local residents towards our staff.

‘We have taken the decision after me and my staff have been subject to tirades from a few local residents in the Seaton and Colyton area.
‘Sadly a couple of residents of the flats have taken to shouting at the drivers for parking our buses in the bus park, as they don’t want them outside their flat.

‘There was a slight issue with the fact we run older vehicles which obviously pre-date emissions tests and when they start up on a cold morning they can be a little bit smokey but they’ve passed all their tests. All the engines were shut down once they were parked.

‘It has been elderly people in all cases. It is the same type of people who buy a house next a railway and then complain about trains, despite the railway having been there for over hundred years.

‘It isn’t for the bus drivers to be shouted at by residents and we no longer wish to subject our staff to such behavior from a small minority of locals.
‘We have experienced people deliberately parking their cars badly on the approach to our depot at Colyton Station in an attempt to make access difficult.

‘We had one resident taking pictures of the drivers arriving in their own private cars.

‘Recently we even had a bus tampered with at night. All the wheel nuts were loosened on one wheel, and the wheel nut indicators were all put back on to cover the damage. That’s dangerous and could kill people.’

Mr Gawn said that he was even confronted by a group of residents after he had loaned two double decker buses to be used as grandstands in the bus park for a recent carnival.

He said: ‘We had a deputation of about five people which did upset me. We were doing it for charity and they still complained.’

He added: ‘The whole thing has made me ill from the stress of repeatedly dealing with these people.

‘The final nails were not mechanical issues or the weather. It was the continual whining of a few people.

‘I do realise that 99 per cent of people do support us, but I can no longer cope with the one per cent.’

A spokesman for Kingsdale, the company that manages the flats, said residents had an issue with the noisy engines.

He said: ‘The complaints being made by residents relate to coach services generally and not specifically the Mendip Mule.

‘It’s about drivers who leave their engines running while they’re not moving. This is a long-running thing and there have been complaints about that practice.

‘In the case of the carnival the issues were related to the fact he parked his vehicles length-ways and was blocking the view, but that’s got nothing to do with his service.’

Pensioners ‘with vendetta against open top bus’ accused of vandalism

TOMORROW 6 PM: “Motion of No Confidence in EDDC Leader, this Weds 13 Sept, 6pm at Knowle. Considerable public presence expected.”

With the BBC Spotlight report (03/09/17)* and considerable coverage in the local press, most East Devon constituents will be aware of the Extra Ordinary meeting this Wednesday 13th September, to consider a motion of no confidence in Paul Diviani for voting against referring hospital closures to the Secretary of State.

The meeting will take place in the Council Chamber, Knowle, starting at 6pm. Good attendance of the public is anticipated. The first agenda item is public speaking . Those wishing to speak should register on arrival, by completing the speaker request slip ( with topic, name and contact details) available on table just inside Council Chamber, and handing it in to the secretary.

For precise details of the motion, see

‘Motion of no confidence lodged against district council leader’, reports today’s Sidmouth Herald

‘Motion of no confidence lodged against district council leader’, reports today’s Sidmouth Herald
* The Spotlight report, by Hamish Marshall, has been captured on https://www.facebook.com/eastdevonalliance/”


Head of NHS says it needs more winter beds! Already blaming councils for potential problems

Hot on the heels of the closure of Honiton and Seaton community hospitals comes this from the head of the NHS:

“… The southern hemisphere has just experienced its worst flu season in many years, and previous experience suggests Britain may be hit by the same H3 strain this winter.

The World Health Organisation is now reviewing the efficacy of the flu vaccine used in Australia and New Zealand to prepare for the last winter, Stevens said. The NHS’s own annual campaign is due to start within weeks, using a vaccine ordered months ago. Questions may now be raised about whether it will prove effective if the same H3 strain arrives in Britain.

Putting the NHS on high alert, Stevens told bosses to do everything they could to ensure that the health service is was as well-prepared as possible to deal with a potential spike in people falling ill, including reducing hospital overcrowding so that flu victims can be admitted.

Australia in grip of worst flu season yet, with experts saying vaccinate now
“For the next three, four, five months the top priority for every leader, every part of the NHS, is ensuring that the NHS goes into winter in a strong a position as possible.

“We know we’re going to have more hospital beds open, we know we are better prepared, but we also know that the pressures are going to be real. We know that there is a great deal of work to be done over the next six to eight weeks with our partners in local authorities to put the NHS on the right footing for the winter ahead,” Stevens said.

He said he was reviewing the Australia and New Zealand experience, where hospitals had closed to new patients and reported very long waiting times.

“The evidence is we are likely to have a more pressurised flu season this year,” he said.

NHS England has already committed to freeing up between 2,000 and 3,000 extra beds to help avoid a repeat of last year’s struggles, which led the British Red Cross to describe the chaotic state of hospitals as a humanitarian crisis, by clearing out “delayed discharge” patients who are medically fit to go home but cannot safely be discharged, often because a social care package has not been put in place for them.

Stevens said, however, that the NHS’s ability to meet that pledge, which will assume extra urgency in light of the fears about flu, was out of its hands and down to action taken by local councils, which have been given £1bn more this year to improve social care. It is unclear how many beds have been freed up so far. …”


BBC national news takes up story of tourist bus pulling out of Seaton and Colyton due to elderly residents objecting to it

Since when was an EDDC coach park, where EDDC receives the revenue and the land is owned by EDDC, a town council problem?

“An open-top bus service has been axed because of “hostility and tirades” from residents, its operator says.

Drivers of the Jurassic Mule service, on the Devon and Dorset coast, have been verbally abused and a bus depot entrance was “deliberately blocked”.
The Mendip Mule Motorbus service runs through Beer, Colyton and Seaton in Devon, and on to Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset.

Issues over parking had arisen in Seaton and cars had been badly parked, intentionally, across Colyton bus depot’s entrance, owner Derek Gawn said.

He said the company used a bus park in Seaton, provided by East Devon District Council for use by buses and coaches on a pay-and-display basis.
“It isn’t for the bus drivers to be shouted at by residents who don’t welcome the facility,” Mr Gawn continued.

“[And it’s] not a particularly good welcome for the much-needed tourists bringing their spending to the town.”

East Devon District Council said it was a matter for Seaton Town Council, which has not responded to a BBC request for comment.

“We have also experienced people deliberately parking their cars badly on the approach to our depot at Colyton Station in an attempt to make access difficult,” Mr Gawn added.

Some people have taken to social media in support of the service.
On Facebook, Clare Dare said: “I think by moving next to a bus park there is a pretty good indication that there may possibly be a bus or 2 in there at some point!!!”

Becky Perry added: “Such a shame my little boys loved their adventure on the open top bus this summer!”