At the previous full meeting of The Council on 18 July 2017, representatives from the CCG and Success Regime presented A&E options to Councillors in favour of downgrading Southend Hospital A&E. Thankfully, those Councillors had demanded that A&E Lead Consultant Dr. Caroline Howard was also invited to speak and following the Success Regime and CCG’s presentation of plans which were lacking in any clinical evidence base that patient outcomes would be improved, Dr. Howard blew their dangerous plans out of the water with clear, factual, clinical based arguments that this was not safe for local residents.
At that same July meeting, a formal resolution was passed that Dr. Howard was to be invited to attend ANY future meeting of Rochford District Council, where the Success Regime were to be present.

At tonight’s meeting the Success Regime FAILED to invite Dr. Howard to speak and instead chose the full time Medical Director of the Mid and South Essex STP Dr. Celia Skinner, alongside Ian Stidson, Accountable Officer for Castle Point and Rochford CCG and Tom Abell, Chief Transformation Officer for the Success Regime to deliver a 15 minute slide presentation.
Dr. Howard did in fact attend the meeting entirely of her own accord and we applaud her for her ongoing dedication and commitment to the public.
Cllr. Mike Webb called a Point of Order on the matter that Dr. Howard was not allowed to speak, despite it being a Formal Resolution made in July and stated that she was indeed present at the meeting tonight and prepared to speak. The Chair over-ruled the Point of Order and said she wanted to hear Dr Skinner therefore Dr. Howard would not speak.

The Success Regime presentation continued and did not contain any statistic or piece of clinical evidence demonstrating how any of the proposals to re-organise, re-plan and re-distribute acute hospital and community services would benefit patient outcomes.

They mentioned a ‘treat and transfer’ model – There was no explanation on what ‘treat and transfer’ actually meant.
Dr. Skinner kept using her finger and thumb to show how small the amount of people would be affected but failed to explain why, if the number is going to be that small, what the actual point of spending millions to re-organise local NHS services was, or how financial savings would be made.

Dr. Skinner emphasised how much they had listened to earlier feedback and modified their plans for the A&E accordingly.
(We beg to differ – the Success Regime only listened AFTER clinicians were forced to speak out in the press after months of not being listened to, they only listened AFTER the huge public outcry of the ever-rising number of people who had joined our #SaveSouthend campaign and they only listened AFTER MP Sir David Amess spoke out in Parliament – Only then did they ‘change’ their plans to remove the blanket re-direction of emergency 999 ambulances to Basildon Hospital, a plan which would have cost lives).

Dr. Skinner went on to say that all their plans had involved clinicians at every stage and that would continue.
We dispute this entirely and have evidence to prove this is not the case, which we are holding until such time as is required. She also stated they have applied for funding in order to facilitate these changes but again, no details on how much, further demonstrating their continued lack of transparency throughout this whole process.
At the end of the presentation, The Chair offered questions from the floor, but Cllr. Webb again stood up and stated he had not heard enough detail or clinical evidence for him to make a decision to either support or oppose the proposals and there would need to be a further meeting with non-Success Regime clinicians also invited to speak.
This motion was immediately seconded by Cllr. Julie Gooding. Once a motion is called, this process prevents any further debate on the matters to hand, therefore councillors were prevented from asking any further questions of the Success Regime speakers.
A vote was then taken on the motion which was supported unanimously in the chamber. At that point, the item came to a close and Dr. Skinner and her STP colleagues were excused and left.

On behalf of the Save Southend NHS campaign, we would like to thank the members of Rochford District Council for acting in the best interests of the local residents who elected them and hope they will continue to robustly challenge and demand transparency from the Success Regime and associated CCGs, ensuring they provide clinical evidence that this scheme will improve patient outcomes and isn’t just about making huge financial savings.
Save Southend shall be attending the Southend Council equivalent of this meeting on 18.10.17 18.30pm at the Civic Centre and we hope that their Councillors will act with the same integrity. Public welcome.

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