Only clowns would cut our hospital beds without first putting effective community health services in place

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS did a bit of leafletting outside Halifax Town Hall before the People Scrutiny Board on 26 July.

NO ONE  we spoke to in the street knew about the proposed hospital cuts, or the fact that the Secretary of State had said they are not in the interests of the public of Calderdale and Kirklees or the NHS.

The leaflet is downloadable here.

On behalf of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS, Jenny asked the Calderdale People Scrutiny Board about two items on the agenda.

The Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee report

On the agenda was a report from Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee about the local and national NHS Organisations’ response to the requirement from the Secretary of State and Independent Reconfiguration Panel, that they update the Care Closer to Home and hospital cuts plans by 10th August to show how they will meet NHS England’s 5th consultation requirement of not cutting hospital beds without effective community services being in place.

In relation to this, we asked the People Scrutiny Board to scrutinise:

  1. Why Calderdale Health and Wellbeing Board has ignored this and approved the delivery of Care Closer to Home, through the Calderdale Integrated Care System (aka Calderdale Cares) and 5 locality Primary Care Homes?
  2. Why ALL the responsible NHS organisations in Calderdale failed to meet NHS England’s requirement not to reduce beds without effective community services being in place.
  3. Why Calderdale Health and Wellbeing Board has approved the rollout of Primary Care Homes across Calderdale without any workforce strategy for them.

The People Scrutiny Board is to scrutinise the Calderdale Integrated Care System, aka Calderdale Cares, on 22 August and we hope they will seek answers to these questions then.

We provided some background information.

No evidence that hospital bed cuts won’t affect patient safety

Around 18 months ago, NHS England told Sustainability and Transformation Plan leaders not to reduce hospital beds without first proving they can do so without affecting patient safety. We raised the issue at the March 2017 JHSC meeting.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Partnership leader told us at the time that the Calderdale and Huddersfield hospital trust’s Full Business Case would take this into account, and it would have to meet the requirements of the regulators, including NHS England.

So why didn’t this happen?

No Calderdale Primary Care Homes workforce strategy

Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee has repeatedly said that an appropriate workforce is key to putting effective community services in place before hospital beds are cut.

But Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Officer admitted to the Board that they need to build a workforce strategy to support the establishment of Primary Care Homes.

This will hardly go down well with the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, when they look at the NHS organisations’ updated proposals for Care Closer to Home, before they’re sent off to the Secretary of State and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Cllr Hutchinson clarified that the proposals that the NHS organisations would send to the Secretary of State and Independent Reconfiguration Panel on the 10th August would only indicate how they were proposing go about updating the hospital cuts and Care Closer to Home plans to see if they can be made to work in the interests of the public and the NHS. They would not be definitive plans.

Private workshop with NHS organisations

Cllr Wilkinson said Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee had met on 6th July to discuss a timeline for responding to the Secretary of State.

Then yesterday they had a private workshop with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and hospitals trust, to discuss the local NHS organisations’ response to the Secretary of State and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Cllr Wilkinson said the meeting was positive and constructive and the Clinical Commissioning Groups and hospitals trust are responding positively to the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee’s concerns.

Keeping us on the mushroom farm

But Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee feel they can’t publicly discuss the response to the Secretary of State, before the details are finalised and the letter sent.

Why. He’s not god and this is supposed to be a democracy.

Cllr Wilkinson added that Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee had invited NHS Improvement  and NHS England to both the 6th July meeting and the private workshop, but they didn’t come.

He and Cllr Smaje (the co-chairs of the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee) have arranged a meeting with them on 6th August.

The letter to the Secretary of State will outline where the local and National NHS organisations are and how they want to move forward.

Once it’s sent Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee will then make it public.

They expect to meet in Autumn

Calderdale Council is also considering writing its own letter to the Secretary of State.

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