Tonight at Wirral Council’s People Overview and Scrutiny Committee a report will be presented which allegedly reviews the drug and alcohol service provided by Change,Grow,Live (aka Wirral Ways To Recovery)
Now we thought Public Health England were being brought in to investigate concerns about mortality rates first raised by Wirral Leaks .
But no! as the introduction to the report on page 2 states : “The number of deaths of people in contact with the service has been increasing; we have been aware of this situation and working with the provider to ensure we have a safe and effective service. However this increase has also given rise to heightened concern and it was this that led to a member of staff from Wirral Ways to Recovery contacting both an elected member and the national BBC news team to highlight this trend. The Public Health team have responded to both expressions of concern, and have linked with the regional Public Health England team, and both the local Wirral Ways to Recovery team and officers from the national parent organisation, to examine and seek a better understanding of the cause of the continuing rise in the number of deaths. This report is focusing on the 72 reported deaths of people in contact with the service over the period, 1 st February 2015 to 31st August 2016. The 72 deaths are the result of a wide range of causes, with a significant percentage being associated with long term health conditions.”
And so it would appear that not only have we been written out of history it would appear that Wirral Council’s own Public Health team have undertaken the review and have merely “linked ” with the regional Public Health team and CGL/ Wirral Ways To Recovery. We had our doubts about Public Health England doing this review anyway this makes a complete mockery of external scrutiny and oversight.
As a concerned source writes to us expressing their concern about this situation :
This is PHE review into drug related deaths on the Wirral. The report was authored by Fiona Johnstone, she is Director of Public Health for Wirral I believe and was instrumental in bringing in CGL after the tendering process.
The report is just 12 pages long which shows the level of indifference the council have for this marginalized group, the report doesn’t say anything other than they were old, we don’t know how old because they haven’t said. These are just a few of the crucial questions that need asking.
2. How many were on a reducing prescription?.
3. Were any excluded from services through so called behaviour issues at the time of death?.
4. Were there any deaths after successful completion or drop out of treatment?.
5. How many had been released from prison?.
6. Did any die during changes to medication?
7. Were they attending the services needle exchange scheme without fear of being challenged?