Shillyshallying Scrutiny meeting to discuss when to decide whether to refer hospital cuts plans to the Secretary of State!

From reading the Agenda for the Calderdale & Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday 23rd February at Huddersfield Town Hall, CK999  predicted that the Councillors will not refer the hospital cuts proposals to the Secretary of State.

Now the Calderdale & Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee Co-Chair, Cllr Elizabeth Smaje, has sent a message that:

“A referral to the Secretary of State remains a key consideration for the Committee. The approach to agreeing the timescale for taking a decision as to whether to exercise the Committee’s power of referral will also be discussed with the aim of ensuring that the timeline for this process is agreed”

In other words, Councillors are going to talk about when to decide whether or not to refer the hospital cuts proposals to the Secretary of State.

How much longer do they plan to let the Clinical Commissioning Groups lead them by the nose – as they’ve done right from the start of this sorry process?

As far back as October 2015, Paul Cooney, Secretary of Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public, said:

“I cannot stress enough how important the role of the Councillors on the Scrutiny Panel is and do feel that they need to up their game.”

But the Scrutiny process has continued to take place in an Alice Through the Looking Glass world where words mean whatever various hookah smoking caterpillars say they mean.

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Cllr Smaje’s message continues:

“Since the last Joint Committee meeting held in November 2016 members of the Committee have participated in a mediation session with Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCGs) and Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) and included the involvement of an independent facilitator.

 

A key aim of the session was to “reach a consensus view” on the next steps in the development of the proposed future arrangements for hospital and community services in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield.

 

The CCGs’ response to many of the Committee’s recommendations was that the issues highlighted would be addressed through the development of the Full Business Case (FBC).

 

At the meeting on 23 February 2017 Committee members will discuss the reconciliation process that has taken place and consider the planned work to develop the FBC and associated information including the timescales that the CCGs and CHFT have stated they are working to.”

 

Well we already knew that the CCG’s response to the recommendations was that they would address the issues raised by the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee in the Full Business Case, because that’s what they’d been saying.

The Scrutiny Committee has the power and the duty to protect the public from damaging NHS cuts and changes – Use it now!

What we need to know is:

  • what the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee say about the NHS Commissioners’ refusal to deal with the many problems in their hospital cuts plans BEFORE developing the Full Business Case and
  • what they told the Clinical Commissioning Groups and the hospital Trust in their two private “reconciliation” meetings.

Are Councillors carrying out their duty and responsibility to make sure that the proposed hospital cuts and removal of hospital services into the “community” don’t damage the public’s interests and health needs?

It would be good if the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee would tell the public plainly and clearly what went on in the private “reconciliation” meetings since the last public meeting of the Committee and why they are still shilly shallying.

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