Here is a cautionary tale from Lincolnshire about the unreliability of Hunt and his so-called “Independent” Reconfiguration Review Panel.
The new Chair of Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Carl Macey, has told NHS Detective Melissa Darcey that neither the Secretary of State for Health nor his “Independent” Reconfiguration Review Panel has been in touch about the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee’s referral last November of the night time closure of Grantham A&E.
On the 22nd February 2017 the Health Secretary wrote to the then chair of health scrutiny, Cllr Christine Talbot, that “the matter had been passed to the IRP for review” and he had asked the “Independent” Reconfiguration Review Panel to present its initial assessment of whether a” full review” is necessary by 22nd March 2017.
Since February, there has been silence from both the failed marmalade salesman and his “Independent” Reconfiguration Review Panel.
The original Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2017/18 showed that on Wednesday 19th July, Lincolnshire’s health scrutiny committee were to receive the “outcome” of the “Independent” Reconfiguration Review Panel assessment.
But this is nowhere on the agenda for today’s meeting, and following the local elections and reshuffle of committees, the new work programme for 2017/18 doesn’t include this agenda item at all.
Melissa Darcey said,
“This is disappointing to say the least considering the Secretary of State confirmed that we would receive some form of decision by 22nd March 2017 and the initial referral was made over 7 months ago. I will be asking questions regarding this.”
Cllr Carl Macey told Melissa Darcey:
“It will appear on the committee’s papers as soon as we get a response, Simon Evans email [sic] the Secretary of State for Health’s secretary to ask when we are likely to hear something but as of yet we have received no response. Everyone involved is frustrated, unfortunately we are in the hands of Jeremy Hunt.”
The extensive period of purdah during both the local and general elections meant that the outcome of the initial assessment could not be discussed in public so the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee received no update during this time.
The latest purdah period ended on 9th June, the day after the General Election.
So where is the update from the IRRP?
Melissa Darcey said,
“It is not acceptable to keep us waiting this long, nearly 8 months ago the decision was made to refer and we are still waiting, the IRRP initial assessment should have been back with us in March, we are now in July and about to go through recess. This will take us to nearly a year after initial referral.”