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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Council warns CHC over health changes

Councillors in Denbighshire will declare a vote of no confidence in the Community Health Council (CHC)E xecutive Board if it does not refer issues of concern to the Welsh Government Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, by the March deadline .
Following a lengthy debate at a special meeting of the Full Council today members agreed to hold off from a vote of no confidence if the CHC agrees to refer two main areas of concern to the Minister, namely transition arrangements while new facilities are built and guarantees that capital funding will be in place for the new facilities, such as a primary care resource centre for Llangollen.

The moves come after a delegation of ten members met with senior health officials, including BCU Chief Executive, Mary Burrows on 8 February to discuss their concerns about the proposed changes to healthcare provision as part of the BCU consultation 'Healthcare in North Wales is Changing'.

Members discussed a range of concerns, which included a lack of guarantees coming forward from Welsh Government on capital funding and the provision of services throughout the transition period, transport implications and the future designation of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd as a district general hospital with specialist functions.

Other concerns included the potential for 'cost shunting' as more care is provided for people in the community which would inevitably impact on social care costs and plans for neonatal care for the most vulnerable babies to be provided at Arrowe Park over the border in England.

Cabinet Lead Member for health and social care, Councillor Bobby Feeley, said: "It is fair to say this consultation has been one of poor processes, misinformation and mishandling but we must We must continue to strive to get the best deal for the residents of Denbighshire.

"I fully understand the frustration of members, I feel the same, and we have seen by the way the Council has voted, we must do all we can to protect the interests of our residents.

"The CHC is the patient's watchdog but, clearly, we do not feel that the patient's interests are being best served by the proposals put forward by Betsi Cadwaladr University Healthboard. As the CHC is the only statutory body that can refer the issues to the Minister, that is where we must bring pressure to bear before taking the last step of a vote of no confidence in the CHC Executive Board."

At the end of the debate, members agreed to use the already established County Health and Social Care Forum as a mechanism to ensure continued dialogue and reporting back between Denbighshire and BCU. Members also noted progress made with respect to reassurances on the future of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, and an agreement to work with public authorities to develop a transport plan.

Work will now begin on modelling the financial consequences of the proposed changes on the Council, especially Enhanced Care Services and Services for carers.

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