Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?
Before I write about what happened at Monday’s People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Phil Davies shut down any debate and ruled that he wasn’t allowing the public to speak at an earlier public meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board (which he chairs) on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.
Prior to the People and Overview Scrutiny Committee starting there were two protests at ways in to Wallasey Town Hall (photos above). Apologies for the poor quality of the photos!
The Sustainability and Transformation Plan is published on the Wirral CCG website or alternatively you can watch the video of the meeting (which contains a long presentation by the NHS followed by discussion by councillors).
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I’ll try to sum up what this means in a nutshell. If you look beyond the fancy words, glossy brochures in essence it’s a plan for NHS cuts (that is if the plan is implemented people will lose their job).
In addition to that with such a radical reorganisation of how NHS services are delivered locally proposed, services to the general public are also likely to be altered too.
Before a decision is made there will have to be a formal consultation with the public.
I’ve been asked to decipher what decision the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee made on the STP Plan.
However councillors do have a scrutiny role over matters such as this. To give an example, the move of some of the functions of Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology to a new hospital in Liverpool from 2019 was rubber stamped by a scrutiny committee made up of councillors from the affected areas. The impact on thousands of Wirral patients and the consultation was reported previously on this blog.
This is what was agreed by councillors (although some voted against) at the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (followed by my analysis of what it means).
- The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee thank Phil Meaken for attending the meeting and presenting the key points of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.
- The Committee is concerned that elected Members [councillors] have had no opportunity to feed into the development of the STP, nor have they been given the opportunity to see the plan before it was published on the 23rd of November.
- The Committee is also concerned by any lack of meaningful consultation with the public of Wirral prior to the publication of the Plan.
- As a result of the failure by authors of the Plan to engage with local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside Committee is concerned at the high level of anxiety and speculation of the implications for the future delivery of health services on the Wirral which the Plan has generated.
- The Committee further notes that though there is very little detail included, many of the proposals would represent a significant variation in service delivery and would therefore need to be presented for scrutiny to this Committee and possibly a pan-Merseyside and Cheshire Committee before any proposals could be implemented.
- The Committee does not believe that Wirral Council can agree to the STP without absolute clarity on the proposal and a meaningful process of consultation, that engages with elected Members [councillors] and local residents.
My analysis is briefly this, consultation on the Plan was going to happen and if the result of the Plan is to change how local services are delivered, the pan-Merseyside and Cheshire Committee would happen too any way. For whatever reason politicians are agreeing to steps that would happen in any event.
Obviously there is a lot of concern as to what the impact will be for staff and patients of the NHS.
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