Transformers 2

We need to thank our lucky stars that Wirral Council ‘leader’ ( ha!ha!ha!) Cllr Phil Davies aka Power Boy Pip yesterday authorised a Wirral representative to attend a ‘Transformation’ beano in Manchester today.

Unfortunately that representative was his namesake Cllr Angela Davies.

Although it must be said that whilst ‘Our Ange’ knows all about the ‘public sector transformational journey’, it would appear she didn’t like it much. Whilst working for the NHS she was quite happy to enjoy the transformation of the drug and alcohol services over into the private sector in the guise of ‘Crime Reduction Initiatives/ Change, Grow, Live’ but then it all got a bit messy for the poor lass. And whilst she was quick to criticise her new employer on the QT she soon hotfooted back to secure employment within the  NHS when she realised just exactly how they meant to ‘transform’ services.

And so the moral of this story would appear to be that ‘transformation’ is alright for us plebs but not for those with a secure pension plan – and the opportunity to enjoy free lunch and refreshments at the Manchester Hilton!

Public Health in Private Hands

 

Fiona Loves CGL

What Does Fiona Love ? : Public Relations or Public Health?

We’re getting further worrying information about an organisation we’ve reported on briefly a couple of times.The organisation that was formerly known as Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) who finally woke up to the fact that not all people with drug/alcohol and other vulnerabilities were necessarily criminals and changed their name to the much more cuddly Change, Grow , Live (CGL). 

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/people-who-need-people/

What we can’t get over at Leaky Towers is how people are so ready to complain about NHS privatisation by the back door and yet when Public Health became the responsibility of Wirral Council (Lord help us!) one of the first things they did was hand over the NHS Drug and Alcohol Service to the private sector !.

No doubt this contributed to the fact that  CRI /CGL has doubled its income to more than £140m in five years!. But then there’s always been seriously big money to be made out of people with addictions !.

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/crime-reduction-initiatives-plans-expand-its-health-services-carry-rebrand/finance/article/1360918

As a number of sources have been in touch to raise their concerns we didn’t know where to start . So let’s start at the beginning with some real live quotes from the people in the know and which provide a cautionary tale about what happens when you handover loads of public money to the private sector :

I just thought I would drop you an email to say thank you for the posts around CRI or whatever name they are going by these days.

I worked for the Drug and Alcohol service for X years when it was NHS and at St Catherine’s Hospital. Was it perfect? –  of course not but I can honestly say the level of care and support for some of the Wirral’s most vulnerable clients was outstanding. I will not bore you with stories of what we did on a daily basis, it broke my heart when the tender was awarded to CRI and Phoenix BUT I did keep an open mind and thought about the clients and keeping on to support them….How naive was I?.
Day One at Conway Street which is the old Arch building- no fax machine, phones, no referral paperwork, basically a nightmare and it continued for weeks and weeks. I must be honest with you I left and didn’t even have a job to go to that is how bad it was.
And there’s more :
Clients not seen on a one to one basis, all group work, caseloads for one person went up to around 150 people, RECOVERY was the buzz word and they would not see anyone who didn’t want to be drug or alcohol free. No more free Hep(atitis) B injections, they didn’t want to do any community detoxes, even the drug and alcohol nurses from Arrowe Park got their legal team in to stop CRI staff on the wards because the care was so bad,  we used to take people from Arrowe Park to detox them from alcohol in the community to free beds. I can only imagine that hospital admissions have rocketed, they left the hostel and homeless clients without a worker for months. The YMCA management were furious, they would not pay for flu injections for the homeless which we as the NHS had been doing for years, the hostel and homeless nurse had to fight with them and basically shame them into paying for the flu injections in a meeting. 
And more :
I could go on and on with horror stories…..  I am heart broken for the clients, most of them have had shitty lives, unimaginable things happen to them and now they are not even getting a half way decent service. 
When we fought as a NHS service to try and stop this service becoming private ( Council Leader) Phil Davies responded with a cut ‘n’ paste letter stating CRI  was the best service  and  would not meet with us for a meeting . What made me angry was he came to the YMCA in Birkenhead for a photo opportunity a few days later to pick litter with residents….
I thank you for your kind response and keep up the good fight! Just know there are still people very angry at this who truly do care for the people of Wirral…
And more :
     
Now, did you know that ARCH has gone bankrupt and been taken over by another drugs company called Kaleidoscope… All Arch’s cafes have been closed apart from one- Nightingales because it was funded by Public Health money …
And more :
We have been told there have  been 65 or 66 deaths since they CRI/CGL took over. A source tells us :

Some staff members requested a meeting with a CRI/CGL  (Director) which took place with a union rep and she stated it was because of ‘An ageing population’

That’s  a line that is usually thrown out when the Department of Adult Social Services tries to explain why it is overspent.
As our source says :
How odd they all chose to die to die in the 16 months of transfer……….
Now as former CRI/CGL employee Cllr Angela Davies seems quite happy to ignore her public duties and yet privately raise concerns so we’d like to turn our attention to a  ‘public servant’ who manages to rake in a six figure salary for commissioning this service –  Director of Public Health Fiona Johnstone.
I’m sure Fiona can reassure us that there is nothing to worry about and the appropriate scrutiny/oversight/monitoring/accountability of  CGL  has taken place and everything is hunky dory.
Perhaps it will appear as a good news item in the first edition of the Wirral Council propaganda sheet which received approval last week.
We won’t be holding our breath.

Private Sector / Public Interest

Private Sector 2

We said we’d return to the matter of the inevitable closure of Girtrell Court. And sure enough at last night’s Wirral Council meeting – despite the impassioned and eloquent appeal on behalf of the Save Girtrell Court campaign by carer Bernard Halley – the Council pressed on with their proposed “we know best” shiny new respite scheme  (with much reduced capacity ) in Tollemache Road.

Now we know nothing about the proposed housing and support provider Sanctuary Housing who are associated with this new scheme but what we’ve raised time and time again is this headlong rush by a Labour controlled Wirral Council to gleefully hand public money over to the private sector.

Perhaps when it comes to emptying the bins and mending the roads we don’t get quite so animated but we do when it comes to services for vulnerable people. We want to state for the record that we don’t think services for vulnerable people should always be subject to the vagaries of the free market. Putting profit before people is never a good thing – especially when those people are particularly vulnerable.

We have pointed out before that the same people voting to close public services are the same people wearing ‘I ♥ NHS’ badges and who wouldn’t dream of selling off health services so private enterprise could get a piece of the action . Or perhaps they would…

If history has taught us anything that when you put profit before people the result is often (if not always) that services are costly and the quality is poor. It’s a LOSE-LOSE situation – as anyone who’s keeping track of the appalling state of care homes and familiar with the news of yet another care home closure on Wirral will tell you – although judging by the following report that doesn’t include  Wirral Council’s Department of Adult Social Services  (DASS) !.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wirral-care-home-left-elderly-11590048

A  DASS spokeswoman says of this latest closure and how it will affect elderly residents  : “Their health, wellbeing and future care is our most pressing and important priority” .

Yes , but where were you when there were allegations of abuse, that 25 residents were sharing one bathroom and untrained staff were administering medication ?. No doubt making plans to close Girtrell Court and hand services over to the private sector!. Talking of which we’d particularly like to know how that little experiment is going with the privatisation of drug and alcohol services agreed in 2014  when services were handed over to registered charity Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI).

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/privatisation-of-nhs-drug-and-alcohol-service-in-wirral

Perhaps we should ask Cllr Angela Davies who worked for Wirral Drug and Alcohol Service before becoming a Project Manager with Crime Reduction Initiatives for 4 months in 2015 before swiftly getting back on board with Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

We’re being informed  that CRI  may have reduced the costs by reducing the level of input for people with drug and alcohol issues . If this is the case this could mean an increase in risk and potentially an increase in deaths and serious incidents associated with this service. We’re hearing about some worrying (if unconfirmed) statistics associated with CRI but I’m sure Cllr Angela Davies would be well placed to reassure the people of Wirral that all is well  and continuing privatisation of critical services is the way to go (even though clearly it wasn’t the case for her!).