Our health correspondent Dr Love provides us with a commentary on recent events concerned with the proposed closure of two local walk in centres and the role of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Cllr Christine Jones. It really makes you wonder whether they’ve ‘got a thing going on’…
Councillor Christine Jones is the joint chair of Wirral’s Joint Strategic Commissioning Board.
She acquiesced when their recent meeting was turned into – for the most important item on the agenda – a meeting of the CCG Board. ‘Legal’ because Council and NHS budgets aren’t ‘pooled’ for the related purpose, but a smack in the gob for councillors. (And see the John Brace reference below.)
The CCG agreed unanimously to close two walk-in centres.
Cllr Jones forgets to say that ANY closures had been opposed unanimously the previous week by a joint meeting of Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester Councils attended by Labour and Tory councillors.
She repeats the argument that people were ‘confused’ about existing services. NO reasonable evidence has ever been presented for this.
She accepts that there will be improvements in NHS111 (now rechristened variously ‘Ask Alexa’ and ‘Fuck off and die’).
She accepts that axed services will allegedly be covered by extra GP appointments, ignores the 100,000 missing NHS doctors and nurses, and accepts the CCG’s clear statement that this appointment system won’t necessarily be with a GP but with various assistants (less skilled, lower paid).
She fails to follow her own Council’s and her Party’s policies to oppose any closures.
She forgets that her party’s policy (nationally and locally) is to oppose the whole ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’ edifice, of which the CCG and its cut and pasted plans are part.
Her colleague who follows her is also worth listening to – for different reasons.
Here’s the video of the meeting with Cllr Jones’ comments from 31 minutes in. https://wirral.public-i.tv/…/webcast_interactive/429803
But the most jaw-dropping feature of this sorry episode is that last month she wrote to a local campaigner and said, “The community consultation the CCG delivered on the urgent care review proposals showed unequivocally strong opposition to any closure of walk in centres. I stand by the wishes of Wirral residents and council and will oppose any closure of services”.
Campaigners expect councillors (especially from the ‘people’s party’) to have a grasp of the ideology behind the rapid dismantling and demoralisation of the NHS. Our little local difficulty is simply a tiny part of the ambitions of those who would beg a trade deal from Trump and leave any bits which they haven’t already plundered to the slavering jaws of United Health of Minneapolis (the previous employer of NHSE boss Simon Stevens and with huge existing NHS contracts including via its Optum system).
BTW the other joint chair (and chair of CCG) Dr Paula Cowan is a key part of the whole unedifying process. She has form in forcing through cuts https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/fertility-treatment-cut-back-part-12583527
So is it the ‘aristocratic embrace’ that subverts Cllr Jones? Or is it just lovely to sit next to the NHS’s own Emily Maitlis?
She’s going to feel rather conflicted when her council colleagues refer the decision back to the Secretary of State for Health especially now that the whole process has been exposed by local video man John Brace https://johnbrace.com/is-the-decision-to-close-2-walk-in-centres-at-moreton-and-new-ferry-last-week-unlawful/?fbclid=IwAR3fGmjIDxS7NSjvNft2xoyqmX38vmOUERnSCo9tQP4U9P-5qIepFTQXrqw
The meeting video also shows Cllr Tony Norbury saying what a blow this is to the people of Birkenhead. Perhaps he’s failed to notice that elements within Birkenhead Labour – as well as Frank N Field and the local GP who runs an excellent ‘saved’ walk-in centre – are jubilant because ‘their’ Globe-splashed campaign had such a victory.
Yours, Dr Love