21 questions about Calderdale Council’s proposal to privatise Community Social Work

Calderdale Council Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel will today (31 March 2015) scrutinise a proposal to set up a pilot that will test the outsourcing/privatisation of Community Social Work.

The cost-cutting aim is to turn the Council’s Support at Home social work service into a Public Service Mutual (PSM), along the lines of the “People to People” scheme in Shropshire – saving Calderdale Council £2.5m in 2017/18.

The Calderdale Community Social Work PSM would be set up in a form to allow ‘commercial’ or  ‘investment’ funding; it would be profit-making and would allow staff to take 35% of the yearly profits. Continue reading

Calderdale NHS bosses’ new plan for August decision on community health services sell off – Campaigners demand public consultation now

Yesterday a number of Save Calderdale Royal Hospital campaigners attended Calderdale Council’s Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel, to find out what Calderdale NHS commissioners are planning for Phase 1 of the Right Care Right Place Right Time NHS shake up (which they’ve re-branded as Care Closer to Home.)

After the meeting, those of us who attended were clear that the Scrutiny Panel must use its powers now to stop the the implementation of Phase 1 Care Closer to Home and tell the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to formally consult the public on the Care Closer to Home proposals.

This is what happened Continue reading

Save Calderdale Hospital Campaigners welcome Cllr Baines’ denunciation of NHS privatisation

Save Calderdale Royal Hospital campaigners are glad to find from Cllr Stephen Baine’s Talking Politics column in the 22nd Jan Halifax Courier, that he opposes NHS privatisation.

Cllr Baines criticises Labour’s Andy Burnham for his 2009 decision to offer Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon for sale both to NHS organisations and to the private sector.

This was the first time that private companies had been invited to bid to take over and run a large NHS hospital. Continue reading

NHS commissioners hoodwink Council Scrutiny Panel over setting up Care Closer to Home without public consultation

Yesterday Calderdale Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel members failed to use their power to decide whether the Calderdale NHS Commissioners need to consult the public about the new community health care system they are in the process of setting up.

Instead they have given the nod to the CCG to go ahead with their plans and report back to the Scrutiny Panel later.

Members of the public said they had now lost faith in the Scrutiny Panel’s ability or willingness to use its powers to protect the NHS in Calderdale.

One member of the public said,

“They might as well have been saying rhubarb rhubarb for two hours, for all the use that meeting was.”

Continue reading

#Calderdale Council Health Scrutiny Panel in private unscheduled meeting this evening

In response to a question from Plain Speaker, the Chair of Calderdale Council’s Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel has confirmed that the Panel is to hold a private meeting on Monday 1st September at 6pm in Halifax Town Hall.

The meeting is not on the official Council calendar, nor on the printed sheet which was issued on 28 August listing amendments to committees for the period 1 September to 1 October.

Neither the Council’s Democratic Services Manager, other Councillors who are not on the Scrutiny Panel, nor the public had been told about it. Continue reading

Calderdale Council Scrutiny Panel steps up to a democratic investigation of NHS shake up plans

We have some good news, thanks to the 118 members of the public who signed Plain Speaker’s petition to the Scrutiny Panel, to the Scrutiny Panel themselves, and to Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign Group, Calderdale Trades Council and other members of the public who lobbied the Scrutiny Panel meetings. Continue reading

#Calderdale Council Scrutiny Officer takes Save our A&Es campaigners for mushrooms

Today (12th August) Calderdale Council Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel (SP) will decide how to respond to the public petition that calls on the SP to:

  • Hold a formal enquiry into Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS providers’ proposals to close / downgrade one or both A&E departments in Halifax and Huddersfield and the associated NHS and social care reconfiguration proposals (“Right Care Right Time Right Place”)
  • Call in all 5 local NHS organisations to explain their proposals, their evidence base and how public, community groups’ and staff views have been sought, documented and used
  • Invite the public to take part and state their views

The Scrutiny Officer’s advice is that the SP should pass the buck to the so-called People’s Commission and refuse to act on the petition. Continue reading

Calderdale NHS Commissioners plan to scrap public consultation on proposed A&E cuts and new community care system

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS commissioners are to ask their Governing Bodies for permission to shelve the scheduled public consultation on the so-called “Right Care Right Time Right Place” NHS shakeup.

This shakeup includes the likely closure of Calderdale Royal Hospital A&E and at least 360 of its 450 beds.

Overall, at least 200 acute hospital beds across both CRH and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary would be cut and replaced with a new system of care in the community that is based on the model used by the American private health care company Kaiser Permanente. Continue reading

Want an explanation of NHS Commissioners’ plans to scrap public consultation on NHS shakeup plans? You could email your ward councillors

Here is the email I’ve sent to my ward Councillors (below). Please feel free to use it as a template, if you’d like the Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel to find out why Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group wants to avoid public consultation on the “Right Care” shakeup of our NHS and social care services. Continue reading

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. Continue reading