Wirral Council Candidates Defending Our NHS

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The picture above represents a very big reason why campaigners are looking forward to new faces amongst Wirral councillors. The upper circle shows the logos of private NHS contractors given contracts since 2012. The lower circle shows the logos of AMERICAN corporations operating in the NHS in Wirral. The linked quotations speak for themselves. This is very much part of departing Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’s appalling legacy which we will be shortly exploring in full. He may soon be gone but will not be forgotten.

Meanwhile ten of the ninety candidates in next week’s local elections (Green, Red,Yellow but no Blue – see photo below) turned up at a Defend Our NHS hustings last Thursday and pledged total support to reverse the damage done to local health services by the unholy alliance of Wirral Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group. A total of twenty-six sent messages of support and/or explaining their position when it comes to voting on health issues.

Onwards to 2nd May! But before then it’s your chance to play  ‘Name That Candidate!’ . We’ll start you off by giving you some clues – to the left there’s a former Lib Dem councillor, to the, er, right is a controversial Labour candidate for Rock Ferry and somewhere in the middle is another Labour candidate with the surname ‘Davies’ .  However, whoever they are, we anticipate that some will become more familiar than others over the coming months and years. Let’s just hope their support for the NHS is sustained long after the polls have closed…

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Defend Our NHS : walk-in back to (un)happiness?

 

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Dear friends of the NHS

Are you ready to be insulted? You probably will be (again) on next month. Read on!

Insult and minor injury

Before Christmas 32,000 people signed petitions opposing the proposed damaging changes to Wirral’s walk-in and minor injuries services.

The petitions (organised by us and by local doctors and other campaign groups) also called for the board of Wirral’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) to organise meetings in every Council ward to explain themselves.

In November Wirral councillors* demanded that the related farcical ‘consultation’ be ended and that “…the CCG come back to clinicians and patient group[s] to discuss meaningful and open proposals to retain the existing community-based services and improve the services, not at the cost of them being subsumed into a new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Arrowe Park Hospital”.

And what was the CCG response? They said ‘consultation’ would continue as planned but “notes the motion”. They said they would ‘listen’ to the thousands (having based the changes on the alleged ‘confusion’ of a few hundred).

The arguments should (but there’s no guarantee) be aired again in February. AND WE URGE YOU TO ATTEND TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.

  • On Tuesday, 5th February 2019 at 2.00pm in Birkenhead Town Hall there’s a meeting of the Joint Strategic Commissioning Board*. Three Wirral councillors (Councillor Chris Jones, Councillor Bernie Mooneyand Councillor Stuart Whittingham  will meet a mass of CCG representatives to continue the now agreed plans to run local health and care services jointly. Oh, by the way, the Council now picks up the tab when the CCG gets into (more) financial hot water, acting (to quote the document) in a ‘cash management/banking role until anticipated income is received’.
  • Then on Tuesday 12th February from 1.00pm in the Exmouth Room at the Lauries in Birkenhead it’s the CCG Governing Body meeting. Will they have listened by then?  They tell us that “An analysis of the feedback received during the consultation period has commenced.  This will be considered along with other evidence by the NHS Wirral CCG Governing Body later in the year [no date given].  The analysis and report is being completed by an external organisation.” (Uh, oh! We hope it’s not PWC!)

*Ignorance or hypocrisy?  Wirral Council wins at Pointless

Wirral councillors do not seem to realise that they can condemn walk-in changes as loudly as they like but their opposition is pointless. Why? They have signed a ‘Section 75’ agreement with the CCG. That’s part of the ‘sustainability and transformation/accountable care/integrated care’ system which the Council has been aiding and abetting for years – while denying it was happening. It includes ‘urgent care transformation’ and the end of current walk-in services. That’s why persuading them to change direction and defend our NHS is ever more important.

So, who said romance is dead?

What more appropriate date on which to discover the answer to that question than Thursday 14th February? We will be holding our next public meeting that evening (details soon) and hope that you will share your Valentine’s Day with fellow romantics determined to Defend Our NHS.

Best wishes on behalf of DONHS

 

Wirral’s NHS crisis : petition to save five walk-in centres and other news from Defend Our NHS

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Dear friends

There are four things we would like to bring to your attention. As usual we would be grateful if you could take action and also share this message with your contacts.

Make no mistake: in the past week Wirral’s NHS crisis has turned into an emergency. The proposal from the local branch of NHS England (the clinical commissioning group/CCG) to close all five of Wirral’s walk-in clinics is shocking.

It is a further nail in Wirral’s NHS coffin and follows the phoney logic of the CCG and Wirral Council’s ‘integration’ of health and care, and their move to ‘place-based care’ (whatever that means*).

Our well-attended public meeting (with GPs and other health and care professionals speaking and in the audience) in Birkenhead last week discussed this and launched an immediate campaign to SAVE OUR WALK-IN CENTRES.

Please support these four actions:

  1. Read, share and display the attached leaflet. Thousands of these are being distributed around Wirral with the support of local GPs who, like us, believe that the proposed closures are idiotic.
  2. Try to attend and spread the word about the meetings and events listed on the leaflet. In particular we urge your attendance on: Tuesday 16th October: a lobby of Wirral’s new joint commissioning body meeting (the Council and the CCG): gather from 1.00pm outside and then inside Birkenhead Town Hall. Thursday 18th October: Defend Our NHS public meeting from 7.00pm also in Birkenhead Town Hall to discuss the GP and walk-in crises.
  3. Sign and share the petition which is gathering signatures all over Wirral. It is attached for printing and further use but also on-line at https://www.change.org/p/defend-our-nhs-save-our-wirral-walk-in-centres
  4. Support the judicial review which will challenge the legality of the national and local plans for NHS ‘integration’ if we can raise the funds. Find out more at: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice4nhs-stage5-courtofappeal/

Thank you and best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

* You may have more luck than us. We have yet to find a councillor who can answer the questions in this test in their own words. The questions originated in Calderdale which is experiencing the same mayhem as we are in Wirral: http://www.energyroyd.org.uk/archives/16190

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Wirral Council and the NHS …what is the truth?

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In advance of a report of tonight’s public meeting at Birkenhead Town Hall where the headline issue is the threat to close all Wirral’s NHS walk-in centres we provide some background information indicating that this threat is the tip of the iceberg. Which is an appropriate metaphor as what Wirral Council and Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group  (CCG) are doing is rearranging the deckchairs of Wirral’s NHS Titanic.)

The fundamental issue is that the Council and CCG have amalgamated health and care services and ‘pooled’ related budgets. (This will end in tears.)

To finalise the shenanigans on 16th October they will sign something called a Section 75 agreement (laid down by the Tories in their 2012 Health and Social Care Act). Incredibly the agreement has not been shown to Wirral councillors on the scrutiny committee, let alone the public. And they have refused to release the associated ‘due diligence’ report until the same date even to their councillors!!! The ‘due diligence’ was done for £40 by the very very iffy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The Labour Party nationally is dead set against S.75 because it allows whatever is its subject to be subsequently contracted off (as will be inevitable as the two parties discover that trying to do twice as much with two slashed budgets is not an easy trick to pull off and so they will have to sub-contract the mess to the highest bidder).

But then the Labour Party nationally (and apparently some of its councillors locally – who knew?) are dead set against most of what Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies is seemingly prepared to go along with.

It could, for example, end up with a group of GPs bidding for the contract… or a health company of which some Wirral GPs are very fond? Only speculating, of course…

There is a judicial review of the contract about to be heard so the whole caboodle could end up being illegal! http://999callfornhs.org.uk/999-judicial-review-aug-2018/4594401565

Pip could land in deep water with the law – and with his party nationally.  But does he care?

 

Audit Trail of Destruction

Frank meat cleaver

The latest Private Eye reports that our very own local MP Frank Field has (quite rightly) been tearing strips off auditors/accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers  (doing business as PwC) in the House of Commons.

Their summary is:

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As you can read for yourselves we once again witness Frankenfield’s flair for Gothic melodrama. “Waving his cleaver'” (oo-er missus!) as if he’s auditioning for the lead role in a remake of ” Mommie Dearest” ( “bring me the axe!)  – but then as we’ve said before he’s always been a Freudian case study waiting to happen.

Wirral Leaks readers will know that PwC are internationally renowned as the favoured go-to accountants of the tax avoider[i] and money launderer[ii].

So who does Wirral Council (with their chums in the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group ) choose to undertake ‘due diligence’ (cue hysterical laughter) as they help to dismantle the NHS locally?

We really don’t need to give you the answer do we?  But we’ll give you a clue – can you spot the business acronym below?

PwC CCG

How much did that ‘due diligence’ work cost us ? And have we heard a peep out of our local hero about PwC’s involvement in it?

Once again we don’t need to give you the answer do we?

Under the circumstances all we can say to Frankenfield is this :  If you’re going to play the people’s champion and defender of the NHS you have to be true to yourself and true to us. If not – what are you? That’s right – it makes you a duplicitous politician! But then we’ve long known that at Wirral Leaks!

[i] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31147276

[ii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/08/18/pwc-to-pay-25-million-to-settle-money-laundering-report-allegations/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.03f32dddcd

 

April Fools

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Whilst we’re familiar with the old refrain – ” April fool is past and gone , so you’re the fool for carrying on….”  we felt that the following leak was too significant to be included in our  Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #10 and have instead chosen to post separately, if belatedly , today :

“I’m not in the Labour Party and have no wish to be drawn into their internal rows. However I notice that the final item in the screenshot in your post below refers to  Cllr Phil Davies vowing  “that Wirral council are doing all they can to stop ACS’s in the NHS…..  

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Some people might say he’s a fool. Others less charitable might say he’s a liar. Some would use stronger language.

He’s opposed to the ‘STP’ (Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships), he’s opposed to the  ACS (Accountable Care System)  , so how does he explain his own Council’s policy to implement both – from 1st April 2018 ?

See the screen shot above from a presentation to staff by Wirral’s  Director of Adult Social Services Graham Hodkinson (who by the way, also from 1st April 2018 , becomes the deputy at Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) , thus committing  Wirral Council into NHS England’s plans to ‘slash, trash and privatise’ the hand that feeds them very well indeed).”

Perhaps Pip can feed this back to the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) at their next meeting or is he quite happy to continue to make fools of both his Labour colleagues and Wirral’s constituents?

 

Good Health In Bad Hands

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Apologies for the delay in publishing this but it landed in our spam. This is feedback from the Defend Our NHS (DONHS) Wirral meeting that we previously plugged. 

In the mean time it seems that local politicians have been belatedly gegging in on the action , most particularly in relation to the now ‘temporary’ closure of Eastham NHS Walk-in centre. This week’s Adult Care Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee was a humdinger with NHS head honchoes – Simon Banks ( NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group) and Karen Howell ( Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust) getting a good mauling.

Acting chair  Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin took the opportunity to say that it was “important that the decision-makers are held to account.” Yes, those words actually came out of her mouth. My, how we laughed. And then we cried such bitter tears.

She also took the opportunity to plug a prospective Labour councillor who had organised (yet another) petition.  We note that campaigning for next year’s local elections has already started then !

However more concerning for us was an issue that received  zero press coverage and caused considerably less outrage among councillors and that was the closure of  Thorn Heys, an NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs.  Somebody remind us what was that Wirral Plan ‘pledge’ about ‘protecting the most vulnerable’ again?

What is most apparent is that ‘partnership’ working between Wirral Council and its NHS counterparts is not what it should be – the power struggles and the safeguarding of ever diminishing budgets was there for all to see – although of course some highly paid public servants and consultants still seem to be doing okay out of it ! As ever the only people to suffer are those who pay for what appears the deliberate (?) and ongoing (mis)managed decline of a once great institution !

Dear friends of the NHS

Are you angry? The packed audience at our public meeting on Thursday were angry. But they were also full of ideas for the fight back to defend our NHS. There was a spirited and constructive discussion after superb inputs from national campaigner Steve Carne and from a number of local campaigns on our own patch.

Why are people angry? Read the list below* and then come back here.

Are you angry yet? You should be. And if you are you can do something! This is what Thursday’s meeting decided. You can do some or all the following now.

  1. Let us have email addresses of others who might want to join the fight.
  2. Read AND act upon AND share the ‘to do’ list (in the ‘Files’ section on our Facebook page and attached to this message):https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/files/
  3. Come along to the many NHS meetings and protests (some on the ‘to do’ list but starting with the Eastham event on Monday detailed below). Some important events are shown. PLEASE COME!
  4. Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth will be in Eastham to meet with members and people affected by the closure.
    If you are available, and if you know anyone who is concerned about the closure, please bring them along.
    When? Monday September 11, 2017 at 11am – 1pm. Where? St David’s united reform church Eastham Wirral ch62 9dg
  5. STOP THE STP! Wirral Council has the power – and has already said it opposes the STP. Why doesn’t it do it? Wednesday 13th September 6.00pm at Wallasey Town Hall. Let’s make this the biggest lobby ever! Arrive early! http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=819&MId=6118&Ver=4
  6. Attend the Wirral CCG AGM @Tranmere Rovers 28th September from 1.00pmhttps://www.wirralccg.nhs.uk/news/wirral-ccgs-annual-general-meeting-2017/ It’s the CCG which has the local purse strings and makes the cuts.
  7. Share your experiences on Facebook or by email.

Thanks and best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

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* That list:

  • The closure at short notice last week of the Eastham NHS walk-in centre.
  • The simultaneously announced end of the Eastham-Arrowe Park bus service.
  • The ‘pilot’ closure of the Clatterbridge dermatology ward.
  • A further near ONE BILLION POUNDS of cuts in the pipeline for Cheshire & Merseyside.
  • The payment of £300,000 to Price Waterhouse Cooper to compile the list of cuts to be made locally.
  • The payment across England of £21 MILLION POUNDS to firms like PwC for similar ‘work’.
  • The news that PwC and other ‘tax management’ outfits are being given the job of organising NHS service commissioning.
  • All this part of the 44 awful ‘sustainability and transformation partnerships’ (STP) including one here in Cheshire & Merseyside.
  • The STPs and everything else above comes from the brain of the head of NHS England Simon Stevens who now effectively controls the whole of our NHS. (Jeremy Hunt has washed his hands, Pontius Pilate-style.)
  • The revelation that Simon Stevens came to the NHS from US health ‘corporation’ United Healthcare.
  • The revelations of the anti-patient and anti-doctor business behaviour of United while Stevens was a boss.
  • EVERY local council has rejected the STP. Wirral Council has the power to stop the STP in its tracks and voiced its opposition last December – BUT it took the leader of the Council, Phil Davies, EIGHT MONTHS to write the letter to Jeremy Hunt.
  • Meanwhile the cuts have got worse, the waiting lists longer, the appointments harder to get, the adverts for American-style health services appear on GP notice boards – yet wonderful NHS staff continue to offer a fantastic service despite all this and despite years of effective pay cuts.