Tuesday, July 04, 2017

New Health Scrutiny appointments

Following the events of the call-in meeting of the Cumbria Health Scrutiny committee at the tail end of the last County Council term, first the electorate and then the political groups have made some changes to the composition of that committee.

As described in the previous post, following the Success regime consultation on their proposals for healthcare in North West and Central Cumbria, the Health Scrutiny committee originally voted unanimously to "call in" three elements of the decision for review by the Secretary of State for Health:

1) Maternity
2) Children's Services
3) Community Hospital Beds.

They then adjourned the meeting - and a number of councillors went home, claiming subsequently that they had been told it was the end of the meeting - but went into a huddle with the Success Regime, following which the meeting reconvened and the councillors who were still present took the vote again. Maternity was still called in, but the decision to call in Children's Services and Community Hospital Beds was overturned.

During the subsequent local and general elections it was made very clear than many voters were incensed by this decision.

I strongly disagreed with both the amended decision - in particular I think it would have made far more sense to call in Maternity and Children's services together as the two are inextricably linked - and the principle of holding votes again and reversing decisions after being lobbied by the group you are supposed to be scrutinising.

So I think it is a good thing that the Health Scrutiny Committee will be making a fresh start later this month.

The Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee consists of one councillor appointed by and from each of the six districts in Cumbria and seven county councillors. The members of the committee for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • Michael Cassells   
  • Phil Dew   
  • Claire Driver  (Chair) 
  • Ray Gill   
  • Rebecca Charlotte Hanson   
  • Carni McCarron-Holmes   
  • Neil Hughes   
  • Vivienne Rees   
  • Jessica Riddle   
  • Virginia Taylor   
  • Chris Whiteside   
  • Sol Wielkopolski   
  • Mark Wilson   

  • There are a number of substitutes for the county council members if unable to attend a meeting: details are given here.

    So obviously I will be joining the committee and look forward to working with councillors of all parties to scrutinise the working of the health trust.

    The next meeting will be at County Hall, Kendal at 10.30am on Monday 24th July.

    The Copeland local committee also made some health related appointments today

    Myself and Mike Hawkins were appointed to the Copeland Health and Wellbeing forum, with myself as Health champion and Mike as Autism champion.

    POSTSCRIPT 15 July 2017

    From the agenda papers I have received today for the forthcoming meeting on 24th July and from changes on the council website it appears that the Labour group have replaced Mark Wilson with Mike Hawkins as a member of the Health Scrutiny Committee.


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