Community alarms

UPDATE: Letter from Executive Director to all service users

Community Alarm Charges Letter

Last Wednesday (24th June) I attended a Cabinet meeting because of the significant number of Health & Social Care reports. All the reports can be found here.

I thought I should draw attention to the item relating to community alarms as this has the potential to cause some confusion because of the timing of the decision itself and the Council’s computerised invoicing system.

All Cllrs have received an email from the Finance department and I thought this should be made public. Here it is verbatim:

Dear Councillor,
Cabinet on 24 June 2015 made the decision to cease to charge for the Community Alarm service, with backdated effect from 1 April 2015.
Service users whose only community based service is a community alarm have already received an annual bill for their charges for the period 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2016, in May 2015.  A number of service users (circa 350) have already paid or part paid their invoice, others have submitted Direct Debit mandates to pay their invoice by instalments.
 I thought it would be helpful to provide you with information to assist you, should you receive queries from service users or their family.
 I can advise that refunds for payments already received will be processed in full by 17th July, although we will endeavour to process them sooner. 
 Where a Direct Debit mandate has been received this will be removed from our systems and no payments will be taken.
 If service users have any concerns or questions they should contact the Financial Administration – Income Team on 01922 658424 who will assist them.
I’d be grateful if any readers would share this information.

We have a a full agenda again for the Health & Social Care Scrutiny meeting on the 28th April 2015.

The items of business are listed here:

  1. pdf Agenda 28-4-15 (43Kb)
  2. pdf 6 – Broadway North Resource Centre – Part A (185Kb)
  3. pdf 6 – Broadway North Resource Centre – Part B (104Kb)
  4. pdf 7 – Petition – Cuts to services for disabled children and adults (42Kb)
  5. pdf 8 – Securing strategic transformation of health and social care services (54Kb)
  6. pdf 9 – Clinical Commissioning Group refreshed operational plan (2555Kb)
  7. pdf 10 – Update on the Care Act (133Kb)
  8. pdf 11 – Work programme (72Kb)
  9. pdf 11 – Forward plan (29Kb)

This is a public meeting and I always encourage as many people as possible to attend.

While all items are important, I am especially keen to have a vigorous centred around  this item: 8 – Securing strategic transformation of health and social care services. I asked for this report after requesting a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Clinical Commissioning Group in light of the unrelenting high demands placed on Walsall Healthcare Trust (the Manor) and it’s ongoing failure to meet A&E, referral to treatment and other performance measures over persistently long periods of time.

It is clear to me that ‘more of the same’, initiatives that tinker around the edges and seemingly endless reviews have not succeeded. Something more radical needs to happen and I for one am signalling to leaders in our health and social care economy that this needs to happen – and happen soon.

For example, we have known for a great many years that care in the community is a significant part of the solution to our overstretched hospitals. It’s what people want. It’s what we were promised. Has it happened? No it hasn’t. And when I question “why not?” – well, I receive answers that are simply not good enough.

So, if I have anything to do with this in the future I am going to start pushing harder and harder for action and for real answers. I want to hear more about why we ‘can’ do things, not why we ‘can’t’; and I want to see much more of the third sector involved.

This is not a finger pointing exercise, or a political statement. It’s about people lives and their wellbeing.

So it’s about senior leaders standing up to the mark from across the public sector and making things happen – the very things they have been talking about for years and years.

I was emailed earlier by the Council’s Area Manger for Pelsall about a local lad, Luca New, who is currently fundraising and volunteering as part of the National Citizen Service, bringing together young people to tackle issues and make a difference. The focus on his volunteering is Nepal.

I have been asked to share details (hence this post) which includes ways in which people can support Luca.

Luca’s page for any online donations is https://www.justgiving.com/Luca-New1/

Although we have experienced some problems locally with the behaviour of some young people it would be wrong to think that all young people are the same – and Luca is a great example of this fact.

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Letter to residents and local businesses, please click on images below for information from the Council’s highways engineers:

high st pelsall cway_Page_1


high st pelsall cway_Page_2

Walking Football project at Oak Park starting Tuesday 10th March from 10.00-11.00.

It could be fun for all sorts of reasons…


Martin Berry Walking Football

Healthwatch bulletin: survey makes interesting reading.

Click on image to read through report.

Bulletin 7 Pages from Bulletin 7

In my previous post I made a number of commitments, five in-fact.

Two of these sought support from Government for our local hospital.

Please find below my un-edited letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health sent yesterday:

Dear Jeremy

Thank you for all your efforts supporting the NHS and social care systems through these difficult times of unprecedented demand on services.

I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman of Walsall Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny committee with some specific short and long term requests to help our local health systems through this difficult time.

While I support mechanisms that incentivise acute providers to manage patient flows such that the 4, 8 and 12 hour A & E breaches are kept to a minimum, in Walsall Healthcare Trust’s (the ‘Manor’) case the hospital has needed to cope with the additional demand (i.r.o 20%) resulting from the closure of Mid Staffs A & E.

This has pushed the Manor’s ability to cope with the already high levels of demand from Walsall’s own population well beyond its capacity to deal with patients without significant waiting time breaches. Consequently the Trust is suffering the financial penalties arising from these breaches.

It doesn’t seem logical to penalise the Trust in this way as it will only serve to take resources away from patient care at a time when it is needed most. These are unprecedented times and I would ask that you consider suspending the penalty regime for the nine months October 2014 June 2015 and review this again in June.

I would like you to know that the local authority has engaged in a very proactive way with the trust and it is doing all it can to improve patient flow. The addition of a 30-bed ward will ease the situation somewhat. However, I remain concerned with demand levels, particularly as we experience a peak in respiratory cases in May/June and we haven’t yet had a particularly bad spell of inclement weather. You will be aware that the Manor was one of the Trusts that declared a Major Incident last Monday (5th January).

I would also ask that you consider the impact of additional demand from Mid Staffs’ patients on other services such as maternity. So for the Manor to continue providing services which are excellent as well as safe in the future it is likely to need additional capital investment to accommodate this additional activity in the future.

Therefore I would respectfully request that you interrogate both the Trust and the CCG in relation to adequacy of arrangements for the short and long term with a view to supporting any bid for capital investment for these services and their future sustainability.

Yours faithfully

Marco Longhi

Chairman, Health and Social Care committee.

Walsall Council


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