CCG and Mrs Jones

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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’…

Dear chum

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

 

DON’T WALK ON BY – Defend Our NHS: Wirral walk-in centre scandal

Here’s the latest from our friends at Defend Our NHS. Misleading local press reports?   You don’t say!

 

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Dear friends of the NHS

We have some very bad news.

Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group board members (CCG) have decided to CLOSE two local walk-in centres.

They have ignored the protests of:

  • 45,000 petitioners;
  • Over 60% of the two thousand detailed responses to their ‘consultation’; AND
  • The unanimous decision of Wirral & Cheshire West and Chester Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (made up of councillors from Labour and Conservative parties, representing Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester councils)

What was billed as a meeting of the Joint Strategic Commissioning Board on 9th July was turned into a meeting of the CCG Board and they approved their own plan unanimously*.

Sadly they were supported by some GPs (including one who at least declared an interest as his practice would benefit from the change). And shockingly by a councillor who had previously written to DONHS to say, “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”.

What now? We must renew our efforts to educate and inform (and if necessary expose) Wirral councillors. Of ALL parties. All opposed the plans, all say they love the NHS, and we doubt that very few of them are aware of the source of the deeply ideological changes to our NHS (in Minneapolis!) of which this is just part.

What can you do?

  1. Please write to Wirral and Cheshire West councillors asking them to support a ‘reference back’ of the decision to the Secretary of State for Health.
  2. Attend our next public meeting. It’s on TUESDAY 30th July at 7.00pm at a venue to be confirmed. Tell your friends and neighbours about this.
  3. Consider becoming more involved in NHS campaigning. Our AGM is in September and we would welcome new enthusiasts onto the DONHS executive committee. Details will follow soon.

See our Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

* The story this week in the Wirral Globe and Liverpool Echo about the protest is misleading in several serious ways. 45,000 people (not 30,000 as they report) and the overwhelming majority of those who sent detailed responses to the CCG consultation protested against ANY closures. And it is important to note that, while DONHS has serious concerns about the behaviour of some councillors, the vote to close the centres had nothing to do with councillors; it was a decision of Wirral CCG and was opposed UNANIMOUSLY by Wirral and Cheshire West Councils…