Address to HOSC on Oxfordshire Transformation Programme Phase 1 consultation (22 June 2017)
- I’d like to address the committee on a matter of unfinished business and on the timetable for further scrutiny of this consultation. The previous Chair of HOSC made a commitment to have a special public meeting in June with OCCG. That meeting would have given HOSC and the public the opportunity to challenge OCCG on its weak written response to HOSC’s letter, detailing its concerns. Legitimate concerns about the consultation process, and how these proposals would actually work in practice.
OCCG’s response was evasive, disingenuous and high-handed. They ignored your misgivings about the ‘domino effect’ phase 1 decisions would have on phase 2, particularly on services in the north of the county, and why 146 acute bed losses form part of phase 1, but proposals to shift care into the community won’t be seen until phase 2, when the beds will have gone.
Despite being the statutory accountable body for the consultation, OCCG have attempted to shift responsibility onto OUHT for solving access and car park problems. They have also tried to avoid accountability for – investment in the Horton – again saying it’s an issue for the Trust. How this will be financed when the Trust has curiously moved from a surplus to a deficit is open to question. But maybe not. Asset-stripping NHS land and properties, recommended by the Naylor Report, looms large, and private finance waits in the wings.
OCCG have also sidestepped the fundamental question of whether the proposals are workable and sustainable given severe underfunding of health and social care, shrinking care home capacity, and chronic workforce shortages in our county.
And their response to your concern about how inequalities would be tackled, shockingly, given their huge significance to health outcomes, was one of the feeblest in their whole response.
Added to this, the findings in the full consultation report reveal a catalogue of concerns, misgivings and reservations about the proposals, (not adequately captured in the Board paper in your pack). The findings also include strong criticism of the consultation process, not least of which was the decision to split the consultation in the way it was; the lack of options; and the leading nature of many of the questions.
All of which leads to the conclusion that there are many more questions that HOSC needs answers to before the decision making meeting in August.
- When will HOSC be able scrutinise the re-evaluation of the options for Obstetric services at the Horton? And scrutiny is one of the functions of the Health Overview and Scrutiny committee.
- When will HOSC be able to evaluate the criteria and results of the Integrated Impact Assessment the positive and negative conclusions of which will be critical to the proposals?
- When will HOSC be able to assess the methodologies and quantitative and qualitative data collected by Healthwatch and Mott McDonald on travel and parking?
And to the biggest question: how will revision of these consultation proposals reverse the crisis in health and social care?
We would urge HOSC to schedule another public meeting with OCCG before 10 August. However, if today you are not satisfied with OCCG’s response to your concerns, refer to the Secretary of State for Health.
Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public
22 June 2017