A proposed motion at Lichfield District Council on the performance of local health organisations has been branded “disgraceful”.
Cllr Alan White made his comments at a meeting of the local authority last night (15th December).
The motion had been put forward by Labour representative Cllr Colin Ball stating:
“This council deplores the very poor performance of the two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) covering our district, with South East Staffordshire CCG, recorded as ‘Inadequate’ for the past three years, and East Staffordshire CCG performing slightly better, moving from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ over the last year, and resolves to write to our two local MPs, asking them what they personally have done over that period to push for improvements and what else they will do personally in the future.
In addition, this council resolves to write to Staffordshire County Council, to ask what they have done over that period to push for improvements and what else they will do in the future.
“Finally, this Council agrees that the appropriate CCG representatives from both CCGs should be invited to the Community, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to inform members about both CCGs’ performance and asked what plans they have to improve the situation.”Motion proposed by Cllr Colin Ball
Cllr Alan White – who is also the leader of Staffordshire County Council – said the timing of such a motion was inappropriate.
“During the worst of the pandemic I was standing on my doorstep applauding the work of the NHS.
“But going into the winter of the crisis this Labour group at Lichfield District Council decides at this moment to launch a moment criticising our clinical commissioning groups – I think it’s disgraceful.
“Before this meeting I came off another with the chairs of the CCGs and they look exhausted. Why? Because they’ve not stopped for eight or nine months.
“Cllr Ball says this isn’t criticising the great work of those doctors and nurses, but let’s be clear about what this motion actually says.
“I’m astonished that he would choose to launch this motion – I cannot and will not support this motion in any way shape or form.”Cllr Alan White
“A lack of empathy”
A proposal was put forward by Labour group leader, Cllr Steve Norman, to amend the wording so that the word ‘deplores’ was replaced with ‘saddened by’.
But a number of Conservative councillors said they were unwilling to support the motion in either form.
Cllr Samuel Tapper said he was not willing to “kick the NHS while it was down”.
“No-one would argue that the NHS is perfect and cannot be improved on at all, and in the wake of this pandemic there will be a lot of questions about how we can make those improvements.
“But the key is that it’s in the wake of the pandemic and not during it.
“This is not the time to start kicking the NHS and demanding better – it speaks of a complete lack of empathy or situational awareness.
“This motion is a politicised motion added in an attempt to create a fight that isn’t constructive.”Cllr Samuel Tapper
Conservative colleague Cllr Wai-Lee Ho said personal experience meant he could not support any criticism of health services.
“My daughter was born in the middle of this pandemic – there was nothing sad about the care my wife and daughter received from the NHS.
“I will not support a motion that requires me to be saddened by any element of our NHS.”Cllr Wai-Lee Ho
Cllr Steve Norman said the motion was not linked to front-line care.
“I’m a bit astonished by what’s been said. This motion does not mention care of patients or the staff which Cllr White was jumping up and down about.
“Someone has to tell me why five CCGs were performing badly before COVID – so that can’t be used as an excuse
“If the excuse is the financial situation then something is wrong at Government level. That’s why we wanted to involve the MPs.
“Either this council thinks inadequate is good or fine, or it isn’t. In which case what’s the point of looking at any sort of quality appraisal of any organisation?”Cllr Steve Norman
The motion was rejected at a vote, with just six members of the council backing it.
Cllr Ball told Lichfield Live after the meeting that the financial position of CCGs should be highlighted.
“The district council’s representative on the Health Select Committee at the county council, Cllr David Leytham, revealed that the CCGs were having to spend more than the Government gave to provide the services for residents in their care.
“All we asked members to do was to get help from our MPs, who are, in effect, holding the purse strings.
“The Conservative cabinet members always seem to bend over backwards to protect the lack of action by our MPs and all seemed to excuse our CCGs being rated inadequate or requires improvement – presumably because it reflects badly on the lack of any action from our Members of Parliament.”Cllr Colin Ball