Health Cheque

 

Fiona Loves CGL

Fiona loves her £91,935 salary

 

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)

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037772/Enc.%201%20for%20Review%20of%20Services%20provided%20by%20Change%20Grow%20Live%20CGL.pdf

Now we thought Public Health England were being brought in  to investigate concerns about mortality rates first raised by Wirral Leaks .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/public-health-england-brought-in-to-investigate-concerns-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.

1.  How many were off their prescription at the time of their deaths?.
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?
8. How many had recently been discharged from hospital prior to their death?
9. What are communication/care pathways like between the provider and the hospital?
10. How many were homeless?
11.How many had dual diagnosis?
12.Numbers diagnosed with Hepatitis C?
13. Has the provider spoken to their bereaved relatives?
I could go on Julian I’m just shocked by such a poor report
From what we can make out the report concludes that the rise in deaths is part of a national trend and mainly involves long term drug/alcohol users with underlying health problems . Anecdotal evidence is also used from  CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery staff comparing the new and previous service provided by NHS which suggests that a number of those that died would probably have been discharged/left the service before the point of death.
We just wonder whether the whistleblower from CGL/Wirral Ways To Recovery is satisfied with this review as there appears to be no analysis or consideration of the numerous practice/service concerns raised on this blog and we very much doubt anyone would raise their concerns about death rates without mentioning concerns they had about how the service operated.
 We also wonder whether they’re reassured by the fact that scheduled contract meetings between Wirral Council’s Public Health team and CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery will monitor the rather vague actions included in the conclusion of the report?. A further consideration that isn’t mentioned in the report that the  CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery contract is ,at £7 million + per annum , the largest contract the Public Health team has.
From our perspective we continue to despair that public services and health and social care services in particular are being dismantled and being subject to market forces and profit margins. Unfortunately it seems to us there are many so called public servants  who in exchange for a significantly high salary seem happy to facilitate this dismantling without evidence to suggest that there has been an improvement in services or that these services provide better value for money.
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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.