Scrutiny Panel calls in Hospitals Trust Chief Exec to explain secret plans for hospital cuts and income from private and overseas patients

On Monday 28th July, Calderdale Council Adults Health and Social Care (AHSC) Scrutiny Panel is to question the Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals trust Chief Executive about the Trust’s leaked “Balanced Plan”.

The Balanced Plan shows how the Trust plans to meet its £20m funding shortfall this year. It was a secret known only to the Trust’s Executive Board, until it was leaked to local media a few weeks ago.

An AHSC Scrutiny Panel member has told Plain Speaker there may be an opportunity for members of the public to question the Trust’s Chief Executive, but this depends on the Chairman, Cllr Malcolm James.

Anyone who’d like to put a question to Owen Williams about the Balanced Plan needs to ask the Scrutiny Panel Chair before the meeting, which is at 4.30pm, Monday 28th July, at Halifax Town Hall. The meeting is open to all members of the public, whether or not you’d like to question Owen Williams.

Plain Speaker hopes that the Scrutiny Panel’s questions to the Trust’s Chief Exec, Owen Williams, will let us all find out:

  • whether the Trust’s cuts and service changes in the Balanced Plan are predetermining the outcome of the Strategic Review/Right Care consultation (ie is the Trust carrying out Strategic Review/SOC-related cuts and services changes before the consultation has finished?)
  • whether the Trust will have carried out equality impact studies on its cuts and service changes before carrying them out (this is a legal requirement)
  • whether the Trust is properly engaging its staff in consultation about the cuts and service changes
  • how the Trust is planning to generate additional income to fill the £6.55m funding gap in 2014-15 (the Trust can only make £13.45m cuts, but there’s a £20m funding shortfall), to what extent it’s planning to generate additional income from private patients, whether this is likely to have a negative effect on NHS patients, and whether private patients would be likely to take up some of the surplus 365 CRH beds that would result from the “Right care” proposal to turn CRH into an 85 bed planned care clinic
  • whether the proposed cuts & service changes will damage the principle of universal, equitable access to health care that is free at the point of need
  • whether the proposed cuts and service changes will require rationing of NHS services
  • why there are discrepancies between the SOC and the CHFT’s Strategic 5 year plan, in terms of both existing bed numbers now (SOC says there are 870 existing beds, Strategic 5 year plan says there are currently 802 beds), and bed numbers once hospital services have been reconfigured (SOC plans 736 beds, Strategic 5 Year plan is for 636 beds)

The AHSC Scrutiny Panel Agenda is here.

Here’s the Trust’s downloadable (PDF) Balanced Plan Report: 235065517-Item-5-Appx-2-Balanced-Plan-Report-1

Plain Speaker has prepared a list of questions that it has sent to the Scrutiny Panel members and will share with members of the public who attend the Scrutiny Panel. If you would like a copy of the list of questions please contact Plain Speaker.

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