I had yet another clash with Conservative Health Scrutiny chair, Sara Randall Johnson at the most recent Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting, as she blocked my efforts to investigate the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of Devon NHS cuts that are ongoing.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care says he is ‘optimistic’ for the future of Ottery hospital, but would not ‘categorically’ state that it was safe from being sold off.
I was really sorry to hear of the sad passing of Phyllis Baxter last week.
Phyllis was an absolute stalwart. Hard working and committed to the town, she was always cheerful and enthusiastic and did what she could to help promote the town and its causes.
I first met Phyllis when she was Tourist Information Centre manager many years ago. I was touched by her passion for Ottery, her lively sense of humour and her ability to take really wonderful photographs.
Ottery has lost one of its most valiant supporters.
May she rest in peace.
ITV’s short clip of Matt Hancock, Health Secretary’s ministerial blue-lighted car travelling at speed through Ottery Hospital’s car park, was deleted yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours after it was posted.
Given that the video, which was in the process of going viral, must have dismayed both Mr Swire and Mr Hancock, my suspicions are directed firmly at these two.
I will be interested to hear from the two politicians whether they played a role in removing the embarrassing footage.
The tweet in question from political correspondent, Nick Smith, also confirmed that Mr Hancock’s black jaguar, using its security alert blue lights, appeared to be fleeing the apparently terrifying prospect of talking to me and around a dozen peaceable looking residents.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care sped out of Ottery Hospital car park, in his ministerial car, with blue lights activated this morning, in an apparently desperate attempt to avoid speaking to me and around a dozen hospital supporters.
Just before he left in a hurry, officials asked me and around a dozen residents to leave the car park where we were peacefully waiting for him to exit. We didn’t have placards and there was no chanting.
At 8.15am this morning I met with Tom Vaughan, the Exeter and East Devon Area Manager for Devon County Council Highways again today, along with Ottery’s Mayor, Cllr Paul Bartlett, Glyn Dobson, Ian Holmes and EDDC Councillor, Roger Giles.
I invited Tom in response to calls on Ottery Matters Facebook page and from the Ottery Business Forum who understandably, wanted a highways officer to observe the town at peak travel time, particularly the problems on Jesu Street and Yonder Street, with traffic queuing up and trying to exit from Batts Lane.
The following was observed/agreed:
Independent, Geoff Pratt has achieved a decisive win in the EDDC by-election of Ottery Rural Ward, despite a major campaign by the Conservatives.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, East Devon MP Hugo Swire and Tiverton and Honiton MP, Neil Parish were all spotted out and about campaigning with local Conservative councillors and supporters.
And voters yesterday reported by contacted by Oliver Colville MP, who was aiding the effort to ‘get the vote out’ for the party.
Three Devon County Council highways officers and four members of Ottery St Mary Town Council met with me this morning to discuss the problems relating to the road closure into Silver Street and Brook Street.
It is still unclear how long the road will need to be closed for.
EDDC Cllr Roger Giles and I have thrown our weight behind Independent candidate, Geoff Pratt in this Thursday’s EDDC by-election, in Ottery St Mary Rural Ward.
Geoff has been a member of Ottery St Mary Town Council for several years and has been involved with a number of great projects, including the development of the Youth Club at the Station in Ottery St Mary and also the Neighbourhood Plan.
Traffic and arrangements for catching buses has been chaotic since the fire on Friday in the Pine Shop that has tragically destroyed much of the historic building and rendered it and Roberts DIY next door, unstable.
Both shops remain closed and the access from the Square into Silver Street, which is one of the main routes in and out of Ottery St Mary, remains closed indefinitely.
I joined around 30 Devon foster carers yesterday, protesting on the steps of County Hall about huge cuts to their income
The protest was timed just before the Children’s Scrutiny Committee meeting, which was covered by local journalists including from BBC Spotlight, the East Devon press and the Express & Echo.
Around 108 foster carers across the county are set to lose a significant chunk of their income under plans by Devon County Council, to shift money to new foster carers, away from the most experienced carers who look after the most challenging and traumatised children.
Devon County Council’s all Conservative cabinet has rejected my motion to strongly support the retention of all community hospital buildings and strongly resist any plans to sell them off.