• My Independent colleague, Martin Shaw, put together an excellent and very well researched paper on the subject - found here - http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=13776 and presented it to the committee last week. He asked for an urgent special meeting of the committee as the pace of change is looking very fast. The main concerns about ACS’s (Accountable Care Systems) and ACOs (Accountable Care Organisations) are that they are the very opposite that their name implies, that they would not be set up in statute and may not be subject to the usual checks and balances that [...]

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    I asked whether the CCG was now paying over £3m in rent charged by NHS Property Services for the community hospital buildings. It was confirmed that NHS England was still covering this rent so there doesn’t appear to be any imminent danger of them being sold off, but what a totally bonkers system. NEW Devon CCG will have to declare any hospital buildings surplus to requirements prior to NHS PS selling them off. As yet we don’t know which hospitals will meet that fate, but it is likely to be several, at some point in the not too distant future. So, a company (which claims when it suits [...]

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    Dr Manton had been asked to provide more up-to-date figures for the meeting but had told chair, Sara Randall Johnson that this would give an incomplete picture on winter pressures. The indicators and reports should now be available to health scrutiny councillors asap, as this was agreed at last Thursday’s meeting. I will post more when I receive them…

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    The questions where Devon County Council performed poorly in the survey were: • How good is the social care related quality of life of service users? (bottom of the SW league table). • Do service users feel safe? (Third from bottom of the SW league table) • Do the services that people receive help them to feel safe? (bottom of the SW league table) • Do carers have as much social contact as they would like? (third from bottom of the SW league table) • What is the impact on their quality of life of the services that people receive? (bottom of the SW league table) In all of those areas,[...]

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    It is also unable to turnaround its ambulances at hospitals because of unavoidable delays at Accident and Emergency departments. The required timeframe for such turnarounds is 15 minutes. This target hasn’t been met for around two to three YEARS, ambulance trust staff told the committee at last Thursday’s meeting. I asked about the absolutely damning staff letter that appeared in local press last November calling for the resignation of the Trust’s chief executive and describing the service as “crumbling.” The committee heard that the Trust had been forced to make [...]

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    The narrative in the agenda papers stated that several of the budget lines are set to save money due to contract renegotiation. I asked for assurances that this meant only a renegotiated contract and not a reduction in service. Mr Brown confirmed that there would be no service reductions in those areas. However, due to budgetary pressures in 0-5 children’s services, the contract currently managed by Virgin Care, it is anticipated that there will be a loss of 30 health visitor staff, due to ‘natural wastage’ (staff leaving and not being replaced), in the next financial year 18/19. County [...]

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    The loss of community hospital beds was intended to be offset by increasing the capacity of community care so that patients could be cared for in their own homes. This may or may not have been realistic since many of the patients in the hospital system cannot be managed in the community even with excellent community services. However, with or without community hospital beds it is an excellent idea to expand community services so that all those patients who can be cared for out of hospital can remain at home. Unfortunately there is not sufficient capacity in the home care services to do this [...]

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    Actually, social care budgets have been eviscerated. So if you are in hospital and well enough to leave, chances are, you’ll stay in for some time because there are not enough places to safely discharge you and there aren’t the carers available, especially in Exeter and East Devon, to look after you in your home. Who isn’t aware of the continuing community hospital bed cuts which have added more pressure onto an already overloaded system? Who hasn’t been told by their GP when they express concern over waiting times for tests, such as-rays, physiotherapy or some [...]

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    I am really disappointed to report that despite me asking at the beginning of January for the winter pressures information to be available at the 25 January Health and Adult Care Scrutiny meeting, it is not going to be provided. Given the avalanche of very worrying “NHS in Crisis” press stories I sent several emails to committee chair, Sara Randall Johnson, at the beginning of January asking for information such as delayed discharges, A&E waits, levels of norovirus, staff vacancies and various other pieces of information. I was told it would be published as part of the [...]

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    The meeting also attracted five members of the East Devon District Council planning committee, including chair, Cllr Mike Howe and chair of the EDDC scrutiny committee, Cllr Roger Giles. Planning Cllr Geoff Jung gave a presentation about various planning issues affecting the village including the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (more large-scale development in East Devon) and the Otterton Neighbourhood Plan. He also outlined the policies that need to form the basis of responding to a planning application. To gasps from members of the public, Cllr Jung also showed a slide which showed how much [...]

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    Great honour to be asked to give a speech to you this evening. Lovely to be back at my old school! Firstly and importantly, I can confirm that this hall still smells the same as it did in 1992! I was shown around yesterday by Mr Bawn. It was really strange! It has changed a lot but the overriding memories were the ones that left an emotional mark. Like when I was bawled out for eating an apple in a science lab, being sent to the Giraffe House (when the windows were all transparent) for eating that same apple… shivering and clutching the heaters in the temporary wooden classrooms ... and [...]

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    I welcome Environment Secretary of State Michael Gove’s announcement last month, in which he gave assurances that animal sentience would be included in domestic law at a future unknown date. However, the main thrust of my motion is about a firm commitment by the government on timing. There have been a number of good news policy announcements from Mr Gove in recent weeks on animal welfare and environmental issues, however, these largely fall short of a commitment on timing and I don’t believe that any of them have yet resulted in a published Bill except banning microbeads in ‘rinse [...]

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