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.

doc10851520150330062702_Page_1 doc10851520150330062702_Page_2 doc10851520150330062702_Page_3

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

Following our hospital’s declaration of a Major Incident since Monday 5th January, I contacted the Chief Executive to arrange and see first-hand what is happening on the front-line. Most importantly, I really wanted to thank staff in A & E for the herculean effort I knew they must have been putting in to keep the show on the road.

My visit today lasted nearly two hours and what I saw renewed my confidence in a special trait we have as human beings: the team spirit that makes us go that extra mile when the chips are down.

What I observed was heart-warming. I heard stories of staff working 14 hour shifts, staff from other departments coming in to help, staff feeling very unwell themselves but soldiering on and staff giving up their planned festivities. It was great to see and great to hear.

But here’s the thing: I’m angry. I’m angry that staff and patients have to go through these traumatic experiences in 2015. A hospital declaring a Major Incident is just one step below having to refuse patients. This is wrong, especially when all the warnings were there, for all to see, a long time ago.

In my view this is a failure of leadership in its broadest sense while the NHS continues to be a political football with all the main parties pointing the finger of blame at each other. People don’t want this. People want politicians to work together at times of hardship. It’s bizarre that politicians should tear into each other while the vast majority of people sit back and say: “you are all as bad as each other” – and then choose not to vote, or vote for a protest party.

People also want senior health officials to ‘walk the talk’; it’s time for more action and fewer reports and assessments. I’m all for evidence-based decision making, but when we spend an inordinate amount of time and money collating this evidence, only for it to be reviewed endless times until it becomes out-of-date, then something is wrong. We talk about care in the community for years before it actually starts happening. And then, surprise, a Major Incident happens.

There are five things I intend to do:

  1. Convene a meeting of providers very soon and ask them whether they now feel they have sufficient capacity for short and long term demand given that we have not yet experienced severe weather conditions
  2. Ask commissioners at the next available Health Scrutiny meeting whether they are satisfied with Walsall’s GP service provision in the context of patients’ demand on A & E and the Major Incident declaration
  3. Lobby NHS England and the Secretary of State to relax punitive financial penalties against our hospital for waiting time breaches at this time of acute demand. This only serves to take funds away from patient care. I will also ask the CCG to make clear their intentions in this regard.
  4. Seek cross party support from the Borough’s politicians. The crises in health and social care demand action centred leadership and not political recrimination.
  5. Lobby Ministers to ensure that Walsall Manor Hospital receives its fair share of funding for emergency care provision, and maternity services as a result of the additional pressures placed on services by Mid-staffs.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 658 other followers