Since the Campaign Group was formed last month it has become more and more apparent that we are up against a Juggernaut of change. The community and health workers seem, by and large fairly ignorant of the consequences.
This is not to say that people are not concerned about the future of our NHS. Far from it. The incredible response across the region to our call for action saw over 200 people mobilised to rally within a week, lots of media attention and 15 organisations coming together to form a non party political Campaign Group. This resulted in an immediate meeting between Group members and HEY Hospital Trust Managers including CEO Phil Morley.
The reason that these changes are going through with little scrutiny in the wider community is that meetings are held, and decisions taken without members of the Public exercising their democratic right to be there as observers, and then reporting what was said to a more general audience.
If there is one thing that will galvanise such committee meetings to be more effective and challenge the issues, then it is the presence of members of the general public. Difficult issues cannot be ducked and the members of these committees know that what they say will be in the public domain.
The Report into the Trust’s AGM is now online for you to read and was published this morning.
It was then brought to our attention that the “Shadow Health and Well-being Board” was meeting today (Tuesday 21st August 2pm in the Guildhall). Four members of the Group went along as observers.
Here is a précis of what the Board is meant to do. We will then add some comments about today’s meeting.
The role of the Health and Well-being Board
The Health and Well-being Board will make it easier for the people who plan and buy health and care services for adults and children in Hull to do it better.
Changes are planned to the organisation and funding of health care and the members of the board may decide to buy some services together. This is known as ‘joint commissioning’ and means that public money will be used more effectively to improve services for Hull residents.
The shadow board will be responsible for making sure that a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is carried out in Hull. This means gathering together all of the information that we can about the health and well-being of residents.
The assessment will help the board to decide what it needs to focus on, to make the biggest difference. A JSNA report will be produced, so that everyone knows what the board has decided and why.
Once the JSNA has been produced, the board has to write a Joint Health and Well-being Strategy. This will explain the improvements the board wants to see and an action plan will set out who needs to do what to make it happen.
Membership of the shadow Health and Wellbeing Board
The shadow board includes key people from the main organisations responsible for health and care services. The current membership is –
- five Hull City Council councillors
- three members of the Clinical Commissioning Group in Hull
- Director of Public Health – Hull City Council and NHS Hull
- Director of Children’s Services – Hull City Council
- Head of Adult Social Care – Hull City Council
- representative of LINk (representing users of health and care services)
During the shadow year, the board will decide if it has got the membership correct and it could decide to invite new people to join.
Board meetings are also attended by advisers who have specialist knowledge that can help members to carry out their duties. These include the Council’s Chief Executive and senior officers from NHS Hull, City Health Care Partnership, the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the Humber NHS Foundation Trust.
Note: Nowhere does it say that the meetings are held in public, and that members of the community can attend as observers.
We will update this website with more detailed notes of what was said, but two things struck me. (Dermot).
1) When Emma Latimer who is Chief Officer Designate for Clinical Commissioning Group Strategy (err, me too) was challenged by Cllr Wareing about the impact of closing 300 beds in the Trust, she gave an extensive explanation of the mantra repeated by Phil Morley that it is bad to have people in hospital and people need to be treated in the community. With virtually the next breath she asserted that Hull is “under doctored”, and that there are too many single-handed GP practices. The Board acknowledged that there are severe financial challenges ahead, so the inevitable conclusion is that there will be at the very best the same level of primary care, or more realistically less, meaning that the 300 bed loss with either mean less emergency hospital care, and fewer clinical procedures, or that patients will be inappropriately discharged with all the ongoing issues that arise.
2) If GP’s are in charge of commissioning, and the Hospital Trust are adamant that they act “more in the Consultant role”, there is the potential for massive conflict of interest as they are effectively commissioning, and crucially “buying” care from themselves.
The lesson for us is to make sure we attend, and is possible get elected representation on as many of these bodies as possible and make sure we publicise what we hear via the Group and the media.
Much more to come. Watch this space!
By Dermot Rathbone.