- Councillors were unanimous in demands that any new NHS procurement regime must be transparent, accountable and serve the interests of patients.
- They challenged the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System’s welcoming response to the White Paper on the future of Integrated Care System arrangements
- The West Yorkshire Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Board is to hold a workshop in March, to start a full scrutiny of the White Paper that will carry on over the next year.
At the start of the Scrutiny meeting today (23rd February), Councillors and the Integrated Care System Director and Board members listened to the ck999 deputation which asked Councillors to beware of and scrutinise the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System view of the White Paper – that,
“There is much to welcome in the proposals for the future of ICS arrangements.”
But Councillors’ questions and comments on the recent White Paper on the future of Integrated Care Systems were left until the last item on the agenda.
When Ian Holmes, the Integrated Care System Director, started talking about the White Paper and what it means for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System, he justified the proposed repeal of section 75 of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. His reason was that s75 competitive tendering requirements place a “burden” on Voluntary and Community Sector organisations that provide many NHS services, and require a lot of different contracts to do so. He added it was important to:
“ensure transparency and best value for money, so we will see how that plays out in legislation.”
He said that his organisation (Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group) will cease to exist and that his main concern over the next few weeks is making sure staff are ok. He is trying to provide as clear a path as possible for staff, to reduce anxiety about the reorganisation.
Claim that the White Paper will get rid of the market is false – full scrutiny is needed
Calderdale Cllr Colin Hutchinson said that the claim that the White Paper will get rid of the market is false and he has serious concerns about loss of transparency and accountability.
The Chair, Leeds City Cllr Hayden, said there will be a Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee Working group in March about the White Paper and the Integrated Care System.
Kirklees Cllr Smaje said the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee needed a full scrutiny of the White Paper, and about bringing back services that were put online or put on hold as a result of the pandemic.
Harrogate Cllr Jim Clark said that the West Yorkshire and Harrrogate Health and Care Partnership (aka Integrated Care System) should drop the name Harrogate, because Harrogate is now in Humber, Coast and Vale Integrated Care System and,
“As of today North Yorkshire is in the reorganisation phase and civil war is now going on.”
He called for the Joint Health And Overview Scrutiny Committee to call for a Public Inquiry into the Harrogate and other Nightingale Hospitals. This should focus on why they were never used and why they could never have been used because of staff shortages, and because of various contract issues that he said had already been highlighted elsewhere. [link coming soon]
Why did they award all these contracts and not use them?
He likened the Nightingale contracts to Welcome to Yorkshire’s Tour de Yorkshire contracts. At the time, no -one knew what had happened with them. And now look at Welcome to Yorkshire – a reference to the organisation’s “big mistakes” regarding finances.
Cllr Hayden said Councillors can discuss all this in the March workshop.
Procurement has been “a total disgrace” during the pandemic
Wakefield Cllr Betty Rhodes said she agreed with Cllr Hutchinson about procurement, which has been “a total disgrace in this pandemic.”
She added that it wasn’t just a question of £ms that had been wasted, but it had been impossible to find equipment that had been purchased, because of the mess in the procurement process. Cllr Rhodes concluded,
“We have to have a transparent, accountable procurement process. £70m was wasted on PPE that wasn’t individually wrapped because the procurement process didn’t specify that requirement.
“What is this reorganisation going to produce for patients?
“JHOSC have to stay on the issue”
Cllr Hayden replied,
“The Working Group in March will have a really good look at the White Paper and will continue over the next year.”
Integrated Care System Director welcomes scrutiny of White Paper
Welcoming scrutiny of the White Paper, Ian Holmes, the Integrated Care System Director, said he “completely agreed” with Cllr Rhodes about quality, value for money and transparency in procuring contracts. He added that he wants more “proportionality” regarding section 75 arrangements (that relate to competitive public tendering of contracts).
Mike Lodge, the Scrutiny Officer, said he would schedule a ‘private seminar’/informal Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Meeting in the second half of March, about the White Paper on the future of Integrated Care Systems.
Cllr Hayden said she was leaving the Committee as she had just been appointed the Leeds City Council Cabinet member for Climate Change and Transportation. It was agreed that Bradford Cllr Greenwood chair the interim March meeting until the future Chair is decided at the next full meeting on June 22nd.