Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended
Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee (15 December and 10 January) – verbal update from Councillor Harvey
Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (30 November) – verbal update from Councillor Paul McCloskey
The Police and Crime Panel have not met since the last meeting of this committee.
Councillor Harvey had attended two meetings of the Health and Care O&S Committee since this committee last met, an extraordinary meeting was held on the 15 December 2016 and scheduled meeting on the 10 January 2017. He started by summarising the topics covered at the January meeting. The committee had considered the Mental Health and End of Life Strategy, for which there were no financial implications for the committee to consider and highlighted the existence of the College for Mental Health Support which was a residential college run by GCC, which sounded like a fantastic facility, but one that was not well known. The Clinical Commissioning Group report was discussed briefly and Health watch Gloucestershire had formally thanked the Commissioning Group for their work. With regard to the budget, from the figures he saw, it looked as though cuts were being made across the board, which he felt was typical across the country.
He then moved on to talk about the extraordinary meeting which was held on the 15 December. He had produced a written update which had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting (Appendix 1) but explained that this meeting had bene convened in response to a motion (14 September 2016) in which the Council requested that the Health and Care Scrutiny Committee give further debate to the issue of Accident and Emergency waiting times. He felt that the A&E unit at Cheltenham was an out of hours service in all but name, as between the hours of 8pm and 8am, ambulances were diverted to Gloucester Hospital. He had been particularly interested in establishing if reopening Cheltenham A&E would have alleviated the issues of A&E waiting time performance, but he felt was concerned that this was left unanswered. It was an interesting meeting and he felt that it was encouraging that, representatives from all of the Districts (except Stroud who had left before the vote) had supported the proposal that a fully doctor-led 24/7 A&E in Cheltenham should be an option ‘kept on the table’.
The Chairman, as the member who had proposed the original motion to Council (GCC) had been pleased with the outcome of the debate and was left with the impression that this was something that the trust could do (re-open A&E at Cheltenham), but that they didn’t want to.
Councillor Harvey gave the following responses to member questions:
· The number of middle level Doctors had increased since 2013, which he felt raised the fundamental question of why Cheltenham A&E could not re-open.
· The trust were reporting a circa. £19.4m deficit and yet the Commissioning Group had a £9.469m surplus. He had been advised that this budget was ring fenced.
· The four hour target was to treat and admit/discharge the patient but these goal posts had recently changed.
· There was no discussion about whether Cheltenham had the infrastructure to support a 24/7 A&E unit. Discussions had centred on staffing levels.
The Chairman commended the efforts of Councillor Harvey on the HOSC in respect of Cheltenham A&E and assured him that he had the full support of the committee on this issue.
Councillor P McCloskey provided a verbal update on the 30 November (2016) meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee. The GFirst LEP had been working to the assumption that the Growth Fund would be announced on the 19 December but Government had delayed this announcement and as such, the LEP were not in a positon to make any decisions about what projects to progress. He had been invited to a Tourism meeting on the 11th but the invitation was only circulated on the 9th and as such he had bene prevented from attending. The committee were given a presentation by Mat Smith from Fastershire and he advised members that the end of 2016 would mark the end of the BT Open Reach contract. The tender process had ended in November 2016 but the outcome had not yet been announced. He felt that the meeting was somewhat high-jacked by certain individuals and that there were obvious concerns about the process, which members were not wholly convinced would be solved by the introduction of a new supplier. He noted that in Cheltenham there were properties which close to exchanges but directly wired and therefore unable to access fibre optic broadband and he wondered what process there was for getting focus on these Cheltenham specific issues.
Councillor McCloskey was reminded that a task group had been established, with Gloucester City, to look at the issue of broadband in Cheltenham and Gloucester. This task group submitted an interim report in September 2016, outlining the various issues and had in fact referred the matter to Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee.
There had been no meeting of the Police and Crime Panel since the last meeting of this committee.
The Chairman thanked Councillors Harvey and P McCloskey for their comprehensive updates.