Letter: The Community Interest [Conservative] Company

Phil Jordan says the Conservative ‘One Island One Service’ announcement demonstrates they have no new ideas or understanding about how to get the Island through the financial crisis it faces.

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We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Phil Jordan – received last week. Ed

Last week’s rushed media release – One Island (where have we heard this before), one service (impossible) – is a fine example of three things.

One: It demonstrates the Conservatives have not got a grasp on what the real problems we face are.

Two: Conservative media spin beats real service delivery every time

Three: It demonstrates that the Conservatives actually have no new ideas about how to get the Island through the financial crisis it faces.

Start from the beginning
The idea that the entire Island across every public service is going to work together, in some shiny new place, is an utter illusion. An undeliverable promise.

That is because there are differing services, with differing financial constraints, differing goals and differing requirements and aspirations.

Across Health and Social Care a shared Hub already exists and at least two years of deeply serious negotiations have been going on to integrate Health and Social Care delivery after the Independent administration successfully achieved a nationally recognised status and Vanguard funding.

The Isle of Wight Council Public Health team have enabled these integration aspirations to progress through a shared goal.

Delivering savings of four times the cost
One big change the Independent administration made was to mirror the three geographical areas the CCG had delineated across the Island and employ Local Area Co-ordinators to work within and alongside health and social care practitioners delivering the community models that the ‘one service’ misunderstanding suggests.

Funded through Vanguard initially, this service is already delivering savings of four times the cost in our community.

Including voluntary sector a confusing mystery
Already these Health and Social Care teams work together and joint commissioning of services is already under way. Some of the voluntary sector are part of that Hub delivery.

Quite how we could expand that voluntary sector inclusion in and around the Hub and ‘one service’ is a confusing mystery.

Hundreds of small voluntary sector organisations exist on this Island and it would mean selecting some, but not others, on numbers of people alone, for inclusion immediately making a ‘one service’ delivery completely flawed.

Conflicts of interest
Some of these voluntary sector groups represent service users and people who run into conflict with commissioners and service delivery agencies over the service they have/have not received or should be receiving and that immediately demonstrates a conflict of interest between the ‘one service’ illusion that is being suggested.

The problems facing Health and Social Care are many and need some clear ideas how to address the specifics rather than regurgitating existing practice and operational method.

Complete integration an impossibility
It is now clear that the STP (sustainable transformation plans) is likely to remove hospital services from the Island – probably leaving just accident and Emergency and maternity services in place – and that the NHS Trust is in severe financial crisis, making complete integration an impossibility as the Local Authority could not risk sharing its social care budget (of about £80m) with a Health budget (about £230m) that is going to just suck out the health financial shortfall from the shared Social Care funds.

‘One service’ on Health and Social Care is illusory and, as things stand, impossible.

‘Blue light’ services already integrated
On to the ‘one service’ emergency services. Well, yes, not only is it government strategy to integrate the ‘blue light’ services it is already being done across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Already Hampshire Police and Fire Service share the Fire Headquarters in Eastleigh and there are numbers of examples of integrated working methods. On the Island, our Fire Service have been involved in first responding and training up of Fire Fighters in paramedic delivery.

Indies delivered over £1m of operational savings
Our own successful management partnership that the Independent administration delivered for the Island has delivered over £1m of operational savings already, whilst still retaining the Isle of Wight ‘badged’ Fire Service and Authority.

Further integration has been explored and work carried out under the Independent administration to identify a possible site for an emergency service Hub which would have seen Fire, Police and Ambulance working from a central facility in Newport and from which all emergency services would be co-ordinated.

Two sites had been identified and with Fire transitional funding and capital funds from the disposal of the existing Fire Station in Newport (not the best placed for a Fire Station) and discussions were being carried out with all emergency services to understand what requirements would be needed in a purpose built hub centre.

Conservative proposal demonstrates lack of understanding
There is nothing new in the Conservative proposals whatsoever in this regard and it demonstrates that there is a lack of understanding of the overall situation with regard to emergency services on the Island.

Contradictory messages
The other contradictory message that the Conservatives would prefer residents were not aware of is the current work going on through a Fire Service Risk review which is likely to see the two Fire Service merged into one Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service in 2018 (along with some Council administration merger, no doubt) and that once merged, the PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) will undertake to put a business case to Government (under the Policing and Crime Act 2017) to take over Fire and Rescue Services and under the control of the PCC – as wished by the Home Office Minister – making a complete mockery of the notion of Council integrated services on emergency blue light delivery.

This ‘strap line’ media release sounds catchy, sounds plausible even. What it does mainly, however, is demonstrate how incompetent the Conservatives are in understanding what has been done, what is being done and what can and cannot be done.

Cynical ploy
Finally, the plea for cross chamber working is the most cynical ploy I have heard in a very long time.

Having spent the past four years trying to achieve just that, the Independent administration have met with little more than obstruction and political silo attitudes as the Conservatives planned and plotted for the elections in 2017, claiming they were elected to ‘oppose’ and when they sincerely hoped the Island population would forget the immense damage that the previous Conservative group delivered for our Island generally and on Education and Child Safeguarding especially.

Dreaming up new promises because promises bring votes.

Image: kinglomo under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 29th March, 2017 12:16pm


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Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

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