Free entry to Seaton Jurassic for lottery players 11-17 December

Said to be a “thank you” for lottery funding.

But funding was from previous players, not current ones.

However, it will boost attendance figures for 2017 …

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/free-entry-to-seaton-jurassic-for-national-lottery-players-1-5311835

Seaton – the UK’s Monacco?

From the people who are continuing to try to build on the Seaton/Colyford green wedge, destroying rare bat feeding routes and breathtaking views of the Wetlands comes another BIG BIG idea:

http://fenitonpark.co.uk/east-devon-marina/4592689237

Is it a plan for when (as we read) the UK becomes a tax haven after Brexit – just like Monacco?

As one commentator said: well, at least that would keep a team if dredgers in business until the first big storm!

Do tors question privatisation – no confidence in contractor Capita

Oh Lord, government says it is “holding Capita’s feet to the fire”. Would that be the same fire that MP Neil Parish said he was holding the CCG’s feet to, just before Honiton and Seaton hospitals closed?

Not much of a fire, feet rather a long way from it.

“Doctors raise alarm about controversial private company’s plans to overhaul cancer screening

GP representatives have raised concerns about the potential risk of delayed or missed cancer diagnosis from a new IT service being developed to administer smear testing for cervical cancer.

The British Medical Association’s GP Committee (GPC) has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to highlight the continued failures in key back-office functions from paying doctors to registering patients.

The problems all relate to a major contract for primary care “support services” that are essential to the day-to-day running of GP practices, dentists, opticians and pharmacists.

NHS England decided to contract for a single national supplier and awarded a contract to outsourcing giant Capita, starting in September 2015.

The BMA letter says major problems have persisted since NHS England commissioned the service two years ago, changes the letter says are “putting patients at risk”.

But it warns there are more changes planned for next year.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey writes: “We understand that new systems for both cervical screening and GP payments and pensions are due to go live in July of next year.

“We are very concerned that preparations are not sufficiently advanced at this stage of the projects to guarantee a seamless transfer to the new service.”

“We have no confidence in Capita’s ability to deliver this service,” the letter adds.

A spokesperson for Capita told The Independent that a final date had not been set, but did confirm that a July deadline has been discussed.

They added that the new service was being developed alongside NHS England, NHS Digital and Public Health England.

Capita’s support services website shows it is responsible for updating and operating key elements of the National Cervical Screening Programme.

The programme invites women aged 25 and 64 years for a routine smear test every three years, and health chiefs warned earlier this year that screening uptake had hit a 19-year low. …

… A Capita spokesperson said: “This is a major transformation project to modernise a localised and unstandardised service, which inevitably has meant some challenges.

“This letter does not accurately reflect our involvement and responsibilities in PCSE, nor does it reflect our recent correspondence from NHS England who have recognised the improvements and significant progress being made across services in 2017, which has been demonstrated through improved and increasing customer satisfaction.

NHS England said: “We are holding Capita’s ‘feet to the fire’ on needed improvements”.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-cancer-screenings-changes-capita-overhaul-doctors-raise-alarm-a8036381.html

“Majority of affordable homes lost due to legal loophole exploited by developers, show figures”

Well, we all know about this in East Devon where one of the UK’s mega-rich developers – Bovis – say they are too poor to provide “affordable housing in Axminster:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/08/14/developer-bovis-too-poor-to-finish-axminster-estate-and-steep-slopes-came-as-a-surprise-and-owl-says-i-told-you/

and Seaton:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/08/15/bovis-too-poor-to-buld-affordable-homes-in-seaton-yet/

“Property developers are dodging their commitment to building thousands of affordable homes each year due to a legal loophole, new research has revealed.

Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show developers have sidestepped local planning policy to avoid building 79 per cent of social homes they had initially committed to, due to a legal loophole called a “viability assessment”.

A sample of 11 local authorities across nine cities in England shows developers were able to first win planning permission by promising to build a required number of affordable homes, but later go back to the council to say they can no longer honour the pledge because it would reduce their profit margin. …”

… The research, carried out by the housing charity Shelter, reveals that viability is used most frequently on larger developments, which are generally managed by the country’s biggest developers.

It shows that the worst affected areas were Manchester, Birmingham and parts of London, where viability was used to reduce the affordable housing to less than 1 per cent of homes being built.” …

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/affordable-homes-majority-lost-legal-loophole-developers-shelter-a8029601.html

“Axe Valley health hub plan launched as campaigners fight hospital sell off”

“Campaigners will continue to fight plans to sell off Seaton Hospital and to support plans for a new health hub for the Axe Valley. …

[Independent East Devon Alliance] County councillor Martin Shaw [Seaton and Colyton] said: “Forty campaigners from the Axe Valley area met in Seaton this week to review the state of the campaign for the local hospitals.

“I told the meeting that while the battle to save Seaton’s hospital beds had been lost, it had put Seaton on the map in the forthcoming discussions about health services in the area.”

Mayor of Seaton, Cllr Jack Rowland, said that a meeting to set up a steering committee for an Axe Valley Health Hub would take place shortly.

He was encouraged that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Trust was putting resources into this and he also pointed out that more than fifty services involving over a hundred staff were still based at the hospital.

Campaigners will continue to fight plans to sell off Seaton Hospital and to support plans for a new health hub for the Axe Valley.

In August, a vigil was held outside Seaton Hospital as the beds inside the hospital were closed, as protesters waved banners, shouted “shame”, and expressed their anger and sadness outside Seaton Hospital as the controversial closures of community hospitals began.

Plans to remove the beds from Exeter, Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton community hospitals have been met with strong opposition since they were confirmed in March.

The North, East and West (NEW) Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the move will see more people being given care at home and save £2.6million.

Although the battle to save the hospital beds has been lost, a new campaign though has been set up in the Axe Valley area to support the development of a health hub in the region.

County councillor Martin Shaw said: “Forty campaigners from the Axe Valley area met in Seaton this week to review the state of the campaign for the local hospitals.

“I told the meeting that while the battle to save Seaton’s hospital beds had been lost, it had put Seaton on the map in the forthcoming discussions about health services in the area.”

He was encouraged that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Trust was putting resources into this and he also pointed out that more than fifty services involving over a hundred staff were still based at the hospital. ‘Don’t let anyone say the hospital is closed’, he said.

The meeting, chaired by Paul Arnott of the East Devon Alliance, agreed that it was necessary to establish which health services could most usefully be based in Seaton and Axminster hospitals, and this might involve canvassing the views of local residents and a number of people present offered to help with this.

The meeting decided to set up a new Axe Valley Hospitals Campaign to support the development of a health hub around the two hospitals and to oppose any proposals to sell off hospital sites.”

http://www.devonlive.com/news/health/axe-valley-health-hub-plan-699423

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