Campaigning to protect our NHS and Social Care Services continues

Posted on: 28th January 2017
Cllr Sue James and Andrew George NHS

Cllr Sue James and Andrew George working together to protect our NHS and Social Care Services

Campaigning to protect our NHS and Social Care Services continues. In Full Council last Tuesday a member of the public and 3 Councillors, including myself, asked questions relating to plans regarding our health and social care services.

A previous post gives you the written details of those questions – Questions to Full Council re the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) from a member of the public, Mrs Carlyon and then Councillors, Olivier, me and finally Councillor Burden! To hear those questions and answers in full, use the Full Council webcast link below and by looking down the right hand side, you can click ‘watch’ by the part of the meeting you are interested in. You can of course watch the whole meeting!

Full Council webcast

In summary, this is where we are. As part of the Case for Cornwall, asking the Government to devolve powers from Westminster to Cornwall, was an ask about allowing us to work closely with the local health service, bringing pots of money together to better design services to meet local needs. As part of the Devolution Deal, when Government told Cornwall we could have some of the devolved powers we wanted, a key part of that was the Council working with Health partners and others to re-shape and integrate Health and Social Care Services. As part of that ‘Deal’ Government knew we would be going back to them on the funding formulae (the way money is allocated to Cornwall) as the Case for Cornwall had spelt out it did not give us a fair deal. That work was going along when the Government, through NHS England, imposed a requirement on the NHS to come up with ‘place based plans’ to transform local services and this included as a part of that, integrating Health and Social Care.

So, in Cornwall some planned work got overtaken by a Government initiative that, in my opinion is driven more by saving money than improving services locally. In answer to a supplementary question I put to John Pollard, the Leader of Cornwall Council, he acknowledged that the relationship between the STP and the Devolution Deal for Cornwall was ‘fuzzy’!

Moving on, the reason that the Leadership of the Council do not want too much debate in the Council Chamber between all Councillors in Cornwall is because a process has been agreed by them. The Transformation Board (Health and Council Leaders, including a few senior Councillors) will work up the detailed plans and lead the consultation (sorry I think it is called public engagement) work. The Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, through a sub-committee, will examine the emerging detail and challenge it, leading to recommendations being put to Full Council to decide, probably around June 2017. An issue with the timing of that Full Council debate is that it will be a month or so after the elections when many new Councillors will only just be finding their way to County Hall! Those of us that are getting our heads around the risk the STP poses to Cornwall and complaining now, might not be re-elected!

Anyway, to quote a phrase, “we are where we are”. I may not feel it is right but I’m not going to change the decided processes so I’ll have to engage with them.

Below are the published details of meetings of the sub-committee we are told to rely on for checking emerging plans for health and social care and challenging local leaders to ensure we focus on improving services and not saving Government money. These meetings are open to all members of the Council and the public but normally speaking, only the committee attends. I have put all the dates in my diary and hope I do not find them more frustrating than useful. Its not inspiring that all dates remain “provisional” and no location is set.

Sustainability and Transformation Plan Sub-Committee

This page lists the meetings for Sustainability and Transformation Plan Sub-Committee.


Finally, I am working on a motion to Full Council in February, that will get us to challenge the funding of our health and social care services in Cornwall. I hate the fact that, through the STP process we keep hearing it said we are ‘overspending’. Every time I want to shout WE ARE UNDER FUNDED! Oh, and Jim McKenna, portfolio holder in Cornwall Council’s Cabinet has resigned from that job, with immediate effect, leaving a gaping hole in the democratic voice of the people as part of all these negotiations. He is going to be chair of our RCHT, the hospital trust running the largest part of our hospital provision, with a fat pay cheque, I suspect. I am rather irritated by this as I feel it is one of the most important jobs in the Council’s Cabinet and at this crucial time, we have an empty chair.

Sorry folks – turning into another rant!!