I have been really disappointed in recent months and years at what I see as a systemic lack of accountability in the NHS. As a Health Scrutiny Committee member, I would expect to get straight answers to straight questions at meetings, but unfortunately this rarely happens, which is why I was forced to submit a Freedom of Information request about a basic set of data tables relating to winter pressures.

I will not hesitate to do this again.

The report on carers starts on page 55 of the link below. This came about after I read a detailed survey and saw that local people who are caring for loved ones may not feel very supported. I subsequently had a meeting with senior officers and saw the raw (anonymised) data from local focus groups. It was disturbing and it appeared to me that many local carers are having a really hard time managing, because of the government’s austerity agenda.  I asked for the report to be referred to the Health Scrutiny Committee, but was told this wasn’t possible as consent had not been given by the participants of the focus group.

A version of the report has been submitted instead. I am pleased that a number of measures have been put in place by officers to try and improve matters, however, I have already told senior officers that leaving out the comments has meant that the voice of carers has been lost, in my view.

I believe that there should have been an attempt to secure retrospective consent for the publication of the report, as without a proper voice, the government will simply carry on ignoring carers’ plight – and they deserve better.

If you want to read the reports – and if you care about our NHS I would urge you to! The link is here http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=429&MId=2848&Ver=4

Members of the public are permitted to address the committee in the 15 minute slot at the beginning of the meeting. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) four days in advance.

The meeting starts at 2.15 on Thursday 7 June. It will be webcast from this link – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/home – and archived afterwards.