• At yesterday’s health and adult care scrutiny committee, to repeated heckling from the public gallery, Sonja Manton from NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group gave an update on the plans to slash around £500m by 2020, as part of Devon’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). The county’s STP is one of 44 across the country and is the government’s main programme of major cost cutting and centralisation in the NHS, to stem a £30bn shortfall by 2020. I asked a number of questions mainly on staffing, budgets and buildings, along the following lines: What are the vacancies and how[...]

    Read more

    This was something that Devon Wildlife Trust was asking people to do via Twitter and a coalition of charities managed to get around 200 MPs to sign up to doing earlier this year, including Neil Parish. Unfortunately, not a single Conservative MP voted against the Bill. And my understanding is that none supported amendments either, although I am not 100 per cent sure on this. Nature protections are of particular importance to East Devon because of the legal protections afforded to nature currently under EU legislation. At a time when UK nature is described as one of the most depleted in the [...]

    Read more

    We only hear from the most senior managers at Health Scrutiny and I believe that our work is poorer for that. I would like to reassure any staff (who quite understandably may be nervous about speaking out) that I am very keen to hear about what is happening on the ground and that I will treat their comments as confidential. Winter is looming, as is a predicted major flu outbreak and there are serious concerns about how the RD&E is going to cope without the same level of community beds to discharge patients to… and of course, how much suffering may be caused to patients and carers as [...]

    Read more

    The Procedures Committee (which I am a member of) met this afternoon and debated the fallout of the controversial July health scrutiny meeting where the chair ended up as the subject of a Standards Committee hearing, following a vote against a referral to the Secretary of State over the loss of 72 community hospital beds. Paul Diviani, leader of EDDC, also voted against a referral to the Secretary of State, despite his own council robustly opposing the bed cuts. His actions have been much criticised by local people, who quite reasonably, believe that Cllr Diviani did not carry out his [...]

    Read more

    Dear Hugo I am writing to urge you to amend (or support amendments) relating to protecting nature, during tomorrow’s Brexit House of Commons debate. You will have already seen the tweets I have directed towards you on the subject, many times over the past few months. You will remember that in April Devon County Council (virtually unanimously) supported my motion to urge the government to retain all nature laws during the Repeal Bill process with AT LEAST the same level of protection. You will also be aware of the latest State of Nature report which shows that the UK is one of the most nature[...]

    Read more

    http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/RepealBill?platform=hootsuite What we want to see in the Repeal Bill 1. All current EU wildlife and environment laws brought across in to UK law 2. Any future potential changes to these laws checked and debated by Parliament • Clauses 7-9 and 17 of the Repeal Bill give the Government lots of powers to legislate or de-legislate by Statutory Instrument • According to the Repeal Bill, they could justify this on the grounds of a “failure to operate effectively” or “any other deficiency” “arising from withdrawal”. But these terms are not defined. • [...]

    Read more