Friday, July 27, 2007

Health and Adult Social Care select committee

Ron Gould and I had our second meeting of the day together.

While we were waiting for the coach to come to take us to the liner terminal and the docks at Seaforth I said something about when I might rule the world. I guess I was wanting to ban something but cannot think just now what it was, smoking probably. (I can be a bit of a dictator when all comes to all)

Banning smoking outright is the only thing that will stop me, I sometimes think

Anyway he asked me if there would be a role for him in my world, if I was the ruler, I told him he could keep on with managing public health. He seems to be doing a good job of it so far, if smoking is anything to go by, at least for a LibDem that is!

(I realise that I am in serious danger here, of losing my hard-won crown of principal LibDem opponent in the whole country, by saying nice things about any of them. In point of fact I think I am now up to a whole 5 LibDems that might not need to be got rid of when I do actually rule the world. But to be fair, those 5 contrast with about 3000 on the other side, so it probably just means they are in the wrong party.
You know how the saying goes.
1. All LibDems are bastards
2. If you meet one who is not a bastard, refer to rule 1)

(Isn't it good to be able to say bastard without fear of recrimination from the site owner, because in this case it is me, hurrah!)

Anyway, I have wandered totally off the point, which was the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (or whatever it is called).

We had a lively debate around our called in item - the LibDems are determined to sell off our last few bedsits, because they are apparently "surplus to requirements" despite there being 12190 family or individual units "in need". Fancy facing homelessness to that degree and yet learning that the council think a few bedsits are a few too many. We are against it, needless to say. But they do what they like anyway.

A woman came to my surgery tonight who lives in a private rented property and her landlord is selling up. She has two small children and is scared of being homeless. She has been on the housing waiting list for 6 years. And the council's response? She will have to go in a hostel and take it from there. I am sure she would prefer bedsit accomodation to a hostel, if that was the only choice available to her.

How is selling off all our bedsits appropriate? How is that 21st century caring and accountability? I could spit (it is a better alternative to tearing people's heads off anyway).

We also talked about Venmore Residential Unit. I forget its proper name, but it is an award winning centre that houses the elderly and which the Labour Party in Liverpool have been fighting to save from closure for about a year now.

Cllr David Antrobus who is the LibDem in charge of this field, told the committee that it would not shut in the short term although, like James Bond, he could never say never. I paraphrase the whole of his contribution, but Roz Gladden and I were clearly of the view that he had backtacked considerably from his starting point last year.

Maybe it wont actually shut and maybe the residents and care staff wont have move after all. In which case it is a major triumph and success story but we were a bit shell shocked and still need to check our facts in case we had wax in our ears.

I also reminded the committee that I had written in June to the officers and councillors leading the SmokeFree Liverpool campaign to warn them that pubs, clubs and restaurants would need to offer ashtrays or buckets outside if we were to avoid a tide of cigarette ends on our streets.

That has not happened and the streets are knee deep in butt ends already.

We had a presentation from Derek, the man in charge of the PCT (I cannot just remember his surname or his post but he knows who he is and he is the key player. It is late and I cannot find the energy to go off and find my papers, sorry).

He was talking about the new plans for primary health care in the city, if we all agree and put the money in. In the brave new world everyone will be able to walk to their GP within 15 mins; access a local health clinic (a bit bigger than the doctors, with dentists and others in attendance) within 15 mins reach in a car and then have a reasonable proximity to hospitals.

I told Derek afterwards that I can walk to my GP and my dentist within 5 minutes, if I only stroll and can get to A&E at the Royal or the Women's Hospital within 10 mins in the car, I feel blessed really.

A very interesting meeting with lots of food for thought

I am only an alternate on this committee (in other words I only go when an official member from our side cannot be there) but there is always lots to say and ponder when I do get a chance to attend.

Very interesting stuff.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JB said...

Ooh what was deleted?!

Interesting stuff indeed Louise. The consolidation of GP services in super surgeries may be good from the clinical view, but it does worry me that access will be reduced. As you say, many people are currently well under 15 mins walk from their GP, which is almost a mile radius.

Re. the Venmore home, you should be aware that this is all tied up with the baleful HMR Pathfinder plans for 'site assembly' (i.e. mass demoltion) in the area, yet another disastrous consequence of this calamitous council policy.

Maybe this is a sign they know the writing is on the wall for future phases - cold comfort to those kicked out of their homes in the mean time.

Louise Baldock said...

I removed a comment from a spammer, nothing to do with the site. Someone wanting us to make money on some scam or another...

Thanks for the comments. We have been fighting the Venmore campaign for about a year now, I do hope the closure option has ended but we are still not quite sure. They were very loathe to say.

JB said...

The council's land and property dealers/officers don't give a damn about the worry their secretive back-room stitch-ups impose on residents.

The Labour government promised an era of 'bottom-up' rather than 'top-down' regeneration. I wonder how empowered the old folks in this home, or languishing in burnt out 'New Heartlands' streets, feel compared to the smug suits in Hatton Garden?

Keep fighting for those vulnerable to these greedy spivs.