Wirral Council spent £6,950 for 10 days of IT support for councillors & £7,498.48 on a family planning course

Wirral Council spent £6,950 for 10 days of IT support for councillors & £7,498.48 on a family planning course

Wirral Council spent £6,950 for 10 days of IT support for councillors & £7,498.48 on a family planning course


Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014
Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

As one of the new requirements of The Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015 Wirral Council are required to publish certain types of information specified in the Local Government Transparency Code 2015.

Wirral Council published on the 14th May 2015 details of contracts, commissioned activity, purchase orders, framework agreements and any other legally enforceable agreement of between £5,000 and £10,000 on the data.gov.uk website here.

The first contract that caught my eye was one for £6,950 with Odgers Interim (which if you remember a previous blog post of mine is an organisation that provides agency staff). The title of the contract is “consultancy support of Windows 7 & ICT Services” and its description is “10 Days Consultancy in Support of Windows 7 & ICT services to Elected Members Total £6,950.00”. Elected Members means councillors.

Wirral Council also spent £5,000 with England’s Golf Coast Limited for “Annual Membership to England’s Golf Coast”, £6,812.30 with an organisation called Assist Managed Services for a week of cleaning up New Brighton in July 2014, £5,000 with a company called O’Neill PR based in Macclesfield for “Tourism PR at the Open Golf Championship 2014”, £5,854.45 for catering at a wedding on the 16th August 2014 to a Skelmersdale based catering company (although this will have been recharged to whoever paid for the wedding), £8,000 to AMION Consulting Limited for “Development of a vision for Wirral’s tourism strategy to sustain and grow the Borough’s visitor economy” described as for “developing a vision for Wirral’s Tourism businesses a 5 year strategy for the Borough’s visitor economy”, £9,847.80 to Huck Nets Limited for a piece of play equipment called a Birds Nest Tree at Diamond Farm, Saughall Massie, £7,498.48 to Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for a “Family Planning Course”, £7,597.13 for a “Viking Playship” from Hags-SMP Limited, £6,510.00 to H&G Healthcare Limited for 100 “flu vaccination vouchers” in October 2014, £6,533.99 to AECOM Limited for a “Wirral Docks Bridge Feasibility Study” and £9,570 to Exterion Media (UK) Ltd to “supply poster sites for the Wonders of Wirral Spring Campaign”.

Whereas I’m generally a fan of increased transparency involving Wirral Council, in the description field published on the data.gov.uk website about a payment for £9,275.74 to Autism Initiatives, Wirral Council have included the full name of the child or adult with autism. In the context of services provided by Autism Initiatives this would also be classed as “sensitive personal information”. Also in two payments to West Kirby Residential School (a special school) for school fees, Wirral Council have revealed the name of two children by the information published on the website. Again in the context this would be classed as “sensitive personal information”. Maybe Wirral Council needs to think again whether it is being too transparent in these sensitive areas?

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Arrowe Park Hospital – discharged at last!

Sadly due to an accident at home involving broken bones in my arm and a head injury after a fall down the stairs on the morning of Thursday 10th May I was taken to hospital (Arrowe Park) by ambulance.

At Arrowe Park Hospital I was taken to Accident & Emergency where I was seen to, sent to X-ray, sent back, got twelve stitches on my head and a plaster cast, then admitted to ward 11 for an operation.

Sadly an operation couldn’t be arranged for Thursday, due to various reasons one of which being other patients with a higher clinical priority (and issues to do with the strike of hospital staff on the Thursday).

I was given a provisional date of 12th May 2012 (Saturday), however this:-

a) could be changed and

b) was provisional on the hospital having a spare bed on Saturday

So, I discharged myself on Thursday morning and returned by arrangement as a day case on Saturday morning. After three other people had had their operation in the morning, I was operated on under general anaesthetic, then taken back to ward 11 about 1.30 pm.

After the required time and tests I was then discharged early evening. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the doctors, nurses especially the ever patient nurse Julie on Ward 11 and medical students from the University of Liverpool involved with my care. I thought I recognised at least one of the 5th year medical students from my time at UoL.

I’d also like to thank my wife too for her care, as I realise it’s a lot of upheaval for her and being a former NHS employee she had a few differences of opinion with the staff at the hospital.

She did get asked to leave by the staff on a number of occasions, but I wanted her there, and to be honest, on each time this happened (except once) they weren’t justified in asking her to leave and the problems were caused by factors outside our control, such as the strike on Thursday causing the staff to be stressed, poor communication between some of those involved in my care (and with her) and the fact that I didn’t repeat to her everything told to me by the staff when she was only a few feet away and other things. Certainly some staff aren’t fully aware of current hospital policies and internal communication within the hospital (between staff) could be improved, which would lead to increased efficiencies and shorter patient stays (and less cost to the taxpayer).

Sadly the day I had my accident many hospital staff were on strike. The main service affected during my stay on Thursday was the hospital porters. This job was done by managers, who weren’t as familiar with the role (or layout of the hospital) as the porters are. Things ran more smoothly on the Saturday when they were not on strike.

During my stay on Thursday and Saturday there were some minor errors made by staff, most of which were sorted out, but considering the disruption and stress caused due to the strike some of this was understandable on the Thursday. The hospital ran much more smoothly when the staff weren’t on strike.

However I cannot type or write effectively with my right arm in plaster and it’ll be a while before I’m back to 100%.

Casework brought to my attention during the election will take longer and I will be doing the election expenses return later than planned and relying on my agent to do most of it.

If you do email me it may take me longer to reply than normal and updates to this blog will be less frequent until I am fully recovered.

Public meeting on NHS (Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)

I’ve just returned from a meeting about the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust that runs Arrowe Park Hospital and Clatterbridge Hospital).

It was chaired by Frank Field MP, also Alison McGovern MP and Cllr Chris Blakeley representing Esther McVey MP were there.

In total (including these three) there were at least forty people there when the meeting started (possibly more as some arrived late). It was held at the Charing Cross Methodist Church starting at 7pm.

Frank Field MP opened the meeting by introducing Alison McGovern MP and Cllr Chris Blakeley. He outlined the concerns about staff morale and the worries and fears that had been expressed about change. He said two members of the Board (Tina Long, Director of Nursing and Jean Quinn, Non-Executive Director) were present who they were grateful to.

The meeting would last 1½ hours. He said the changes “need to be patient-led” and the staff had a legitimate role about being involved in the formal program of changes. He said how the Board responds and the role MPs play would be more obvious.

Alison McGovern MP also spoke. She said she agreed with the remarks of Frank Field MP and had an interest in health issues. The first issue was about the quality of care where people expected dignity and respect. Care was about the person giving it and receiving it. Staff morale was also an issue following the staff survey and feedback from the trade unions and the staff representatives.

Three previous related articles from this blog:

Election for Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Governor (public) Bidston

Health and Well Being Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 20/6/2011 – Part 4

West Wirral Area Forum – 29th June 2011 – Part 9 – NHS (emergencies, out of hours, management)