In conclusion he said that change was the only constant, stressed the importance of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said that there was a constant focus on interagency working and that the footprint (meaning the population a hospital served) would be changing.
Cllr Green spoke about the partnership work and referred to his role as a hospital governor. He asked in regards to a cottage hospital why a large footprint was required to provide a quality service? Mr. Richards replied that a sufficient population base with the right amount of patients was required for a higher quality of outcome. He said unlike decades ago that general physicians were not employed now by a District General Hospital. Instead doctors were cardiologists, gastroenterologists, specialist diabetic doctors etc. Even in cardiology, doctors focussed on certain types of heart conditions. In order to keep up their level of expertise these doctors needed to see numbers of patients that were more if a hospital served a population of greater than 250,000 for example the Wirral and Cheshire population. Wirral and Cheshire share a renal and dermatology service. Looking at specialist cardiology, there had to be a balance between access to services at a local level and quality of service. In this area the vast majority were seen in an outpatient setting.
Cllr Rennie asked about the high number of stillbirths reported in the media and what WUTH was doing about this. The answer was that they employed CHKS to compare their clinical data to a peer group of other hospital trusts of a similar size. WUTH was in the top quartile and the issues they were not performing as well on compared to other trusts were organisational things. For example the length of hospital stays and their rates of day cases were lower. He said the Maternity Hospital was in the top 10.
Tonight you could tell an election was in the air as Cllr Green joked with Cllr Clarke over leaflet deliveries, a sense of de ja vu as Cllr Kelly returns to the Cabinet and some surreal humour about dreams as well as a good smattering that has at times been missing from previous (sometimes lengthy) Cabinet meetings.
Declarations of Interests:-
Cllr Elderton declared a personal and prejudicial interest in item 26. Cllr Lewis declared a personal interest in item 27 as a resident of New Brighton. Cllr Green declared an interest as a hospital governor.
The Cabinet then received a short presentation from Mr. Richards regarding the opportunities and challenges for Wirral University Teaching Hospital. He drew on his more than 5 years experience as Chief Exec and described what the Wirral Excellence in Healthcare System regarding patient centred changed was, their IT system Wirral Millennium and detail about electronic health records. He talked about collaboration with the Countess of Chester hospital and the use of the various sites – St. Catherines, Victoria Central Hospital, GPs and local authority premises.
He then went on to talk about the challenges facing the NHS ranging from length of stay and Social services, re-admissions, infection control, the patient experience and specialisation. He explained the challenges they face from their regulators Monitor and the Care Quality Commission (who carry out unannounced visits). On the financial side he explained how they aim to make savings of £42 million over the next 3 years and the effect that the GP consortia and Health & Wellbeing Board will have.
I spent another morning talking to postal voters (who should be receiving their ballot papers in the next week). Today is the last day for postal vote applications.
There were many wishing the Lib Dems well on the doorstep and it is clear that the Conservatives will come a poor third in this election. Out of the three main political parties I have not received any leaflet from one – the Tories.
As there are less candidates this year, some people who previously for other parties are now voting Liberal Democrat.
With three weeks to go, it is obvious that only two sorts of votes will count in this election, those for the Liberal Democrats or those for Labour. There will always be some Tory voters, but if you vote Tory you’ll get Labour!
People have a choice between a local Liberal Democrat candidate who lives in the ward vs a Labour candidate who lives in Oxton.
People have a choice between voting to elect a Lib Dem councillor who will have a say in the running of Wirral Council versus another Labour opposition councillor (to add to the two you have already) who can’t make tough decisions as Labour isn’t in charge.
People have a choice between somebody new and different or the same councillor you’ve had for twenty years.
I understand many people find it hard not to vote Labour. I know there are plenty of people who know Harry Smith. I know there are others who vote because their families always have or because of union involvement. Look around Bidston & St. James. See what it has become under decades of Labour. Do you want more of the same or something different? Do you want someone who lives here and cares passionately about the people and the area or another four years of Labour?