West Midlands NO!

Regional government: unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable and unwanted

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Large town’s aren’t rural

Posted by wonkotsane on December 9, 2006

Advantage West Midlands, the unelected Regional Development Agency for the region, is spending £5.9m of taxpayers money a Rural Regeneration Zone Enterprise Centre Network.  In plain English – serviced offices.

The main “hubs” will be located in Rotherwas, Hereford and Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  “Spoke” sites will be located in Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Bridgnorth and Market Drayton.

The key word here is “rural” and you may have noticed that none of these places is particularly rural.  Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire and the second largest town in the county.  Rotherwas is similarly a large and busy town in Herefordshire.  Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Bridgnorth and Market Drayton are also major towns.

The problem with having a regional quango based in the centre of England’s second city is that to them, anywhere with less than a million people is rural.  It’s people living out in the sticks that need the help, not those living in major towns.


Posted in AWM, Health, Herefordshire, Shropshire | Leave a Comment »

Letter to Patricia Hewitt MP

Posted by wonkotsane on October 9, 2006

West Midlands NO! has written to the Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt MP, regarding the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority and the West Midlands NHS Bank – both of which were secretly planned and introduced by the Department of Health.

We will cover the Strategic Health Authority and NHS Bank in the next day or two, so much to do and so little time!  In the meantime, you can get the basic gist of it from the letter …

Dear Ms Hewitt,

Earlier this year your department introduced a West Midlands regional NHS bank and compelled the local NHS trusts in the West Midlands to contribute towards it.  My own local NHS, Telford & Shrewsbury, are suffering heavily from debts and a budget deficit yet they were still required to find the money in their already overstretched budget to contribute

Shortly after this your department introduced a West Midlands regional Strategic Health Authority and my local NHS trust now has to report to a regional body that, based in Birmingham, little understands the needs or problems of a rural health service.  There was no public consultation on this and the first we knew about this was when the local newspaper reported, on the day it actually happened, that you had ordered the creation of the regional Strategic Health Authority

My local hospital, the Princess Royal in Telford, has had to make cutbacks in services so they can meet the British government’s targets on budget deficits and debt repayments that have been accrued as a result of the massive underfunding of the English NHS coupled with increased performance targets.  They have had to make some difficult decisions that have now been put to public consultation.  The most unpopular decision is to remove the provision of consultant-led paediatric care at the Princess Royal meaning seriously ill children will need to be taken by ambulance to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, some 20 minutes drive away.

However, despite the large-scale objections from the public aimed at the Princess Royal they are effectively powerless to change the proposed cuts because the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority makes the final decision.

The regionalisation of the NHS service is clearly another step towards the cementing of unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable and unwanted regional government on England.  Important decisions such as this should be taken locally by people who understand the area and who can be held accountable by the people affected.  They shouldn’t be taken by unaccountable distant quango’s who simply cannot give the necessary amount of attention to individual issues that local NHS trusts can.

I urge you most strongly to disband this regional quango and to return decision making back to the local NHS trusts.  One way or another, regional government will be dismantled in this country.  The British government has the choice of doing it voluntarily or waiting for people power to force the issue.  Which do you choose Ms Hewitt?

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Regional Health Funding

Posted by wonkotsane on September 22, 2006

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much central Government funding was made available to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005. [72390]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not allocate funding to national health service trusts. NHS trusts as providers of services receive the bulk of their revenue funding from commissioning by primary care trusts. They also receive revenue funding from the Department for research and development and from strategic health authorities for medical staff training and other teaching costs. In addition, trusts can charge staff, visitors or patients for services provided, such as catering or provision of private patient facilities.

Shropshire county primary care trust (PCT) will receive allocations of £331.2 million in 2006-07 and £363.3 million in 2007-08. These represent a cash increase of £59.9 million or 19.7 per cent. over the two years.

How likely is the West Midlands regional strategic health authority in Birmingham to hand over cash to a rural hospital serving a few thousand people when they can give it to somewhere like the Birmingham Childrens Hospital which is famous around the world and has a catchment of over a million people?  The answer is obvious – the funding and investment that the City Region is supposed to bring to the “region” will be focussed on Birmingham, getting less and less the further you get from the centre with those parts of the West Midlands euroregion that our outside of the City Region suffering the most.

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Hospital Cuts

Posted by wonkotsane on September 6, 2006

The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford has been threatened with cuts to its A&E service as the NHS trust in Shropshire tries to cut its £31m debts.  The A&E service has supposedly been saved but at the expense of the consultant-led paediatrics unit meaning that any children taken seriously ill at night will have to be taken about 15 miles to the Royal shrewsbury Hospital instead.

Earlier this year the Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust was forced to hand over a chunk of this years budget to a regional NHS bank set up by the Department of Health.  They then had to borrow back that money – and more – in the form of a loan from that bank.  Shortly afterwards a West Midlands regional health authority was created and the NHS Trust subsumed into it.  The NHS Trust had no say in any of this and there was no public consultation.

The regional health authority put a stop to the plans that Shrewsbury & Telford had drawn up to deal with their debts on the basis that someone in Birmingham who has nothing to do with the hospitals is better placed to make a decision about those hospitals and it is the reigonal health authority who have made the decision to cut the level of care at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital.

The regionalisation of England continues unchecked, in secret and unopposed.  The Tories are opposed to it but where are they when services are regionalised and cut back?  Where is Telford’s Tory MP, Mark Pritchard, when these decisions are taken?

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Regionalism in the West Midlands

Posted by wonkotsane on July 30, 2006

Regionalism is particularly rife in the West Midlands, second only perhaps to London which has its own elected regional government.  The following is a list of regional quango’s, government departments and officially recognised regional organisations.  The list is far from exhaustive but is a good indication of the extent to which the euroregions have infected England.  Remember, these organisations all cost money and it the taxpayer that foots the bill.  Nobody in the West Midlands has been asked if they want these organisations but we still have to pay for them.

  • West Midlands Regional Assembly (WMRA) – website
  • Advantage West Midlands (AWM) – website
  • West Midlands Fire service – website
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service – website
  • NHS West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Regiment (Army) – website
  • Government Office for the West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Local Government Association – website
  • Regional Action West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Business Council – website
  • Culture West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Higher Education Association – website
  • West Midlands Learning & Skills Councils – website
  • Sustainability West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Rural Affairs Forum – website
  • West Midlands Regional Observatory – website
  • West Midlands in Europe – website
  • RegenWM – website
  • Sport England West Midlands – website
  • DEFRA West Midlands – website
  • Environment Agency West Midlands – website
  • Training & Development Agency West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Centre of Excellence – website
  • West Midlands Probation Service – website
  • West Midlands Arson Task Force – website
  • West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership – website
  • Inspire West Midlands – website
  • Government News Network West Midlands – website

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Regional Health Authority pokes its nose in

Posted by wonkotsane on July 27, 2006

Shrewsbury & Telford NHS have worked out a plan on how to cut costs and cope with their debts.

Meanwhile, the British government creates a West Midlands Strategic Health Authority with no public consultation and suddenly the board of the Strategic Health Authority – based in Birmingham and only having responsibility for Telford & Shrewsbury for a matter of weeks – knows best and decides that they can’t go ahead with their plans until it’s been considered by Birmingham.

More and more of the decisions affecting our lives are being taken at a regional level.  Nobody wants the euro-regions and nobody asked for them.

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