“Addenbrooke’s is a big hospital: world scale, world class.”

The special measures imposed by the CQC inspectors on Addenbrooke’s Hospital were the subject of a question at the Cambridgeshire County Council meeting this week (14th Ocotber).

Cllr David Jenkins

The chair of the County Council’s Health Scrutiny committee is Histon councillor David Jenkins, who sits next to me on the Lib Dem benches.

David spoke up for Addenbrooke’s and commended the many positive aspects of its recent inspection that didn’t make the deadlines: the outstanding compassionate care of staff and the hospital’s clinical excellence.

This is what he said:

“Thank you for the question Ian and thank you for the advance notice.

Before I respond let me give a little background.
The Commission for Quality Care, (CQC), conducted a regular inspection of Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, I’ll refer to that as Addenbrooke’s, earlier this year. The inspection resulted in declaring Addenbrooke’s overall as inadequate and so the hospital has been placed in special measures.
The outcome of the inspection the was presented at an NHS ‘quality summit’ in September. During its presentation the CQC made it clear that, although the judgement was clear and appropriate, the compassionate care given by staff was rated as outstanding, and there were several examples of clinical excellence of the hospital. Addenbrookes is no mid-Staffs and it’s only the change in the inspection regime which has resulted in the two hospitals having the same rating.
CQC highlighted staff shortage, the impact of the EPIC implementation, a disconnect between operations and the board and poor medicines management. It’s also worth noting that the hospital was rated good on services for children and young people.
With respect to this council’s response I’m sure you appreciate that it has no executive authority where NHS trusts are concerned although through the NHS scrutiny role of the Health Committee it can challenge and otherwise show leadership. This is what we’ve done.
Shortly after the announcement the Director of Public Health and I met to consider it. Our main concern was that the health sector at large in Cambridgeshire, the CCG, other trusts and ourselves, should recognise that the Addenbrookes problem was our problem and that we shoud all be working together to address it with a view to Addenbrookes coming out of special measures as soon as possible.
We are satisfied that that is the case. The local NHS chief executives meet regularly and Addenbrookes is part of the discussions at their meeting. The common attitude was summed up by the CCG’s press release after the announcement in which is noted the strong negatives of the CQC judgement but at the same time highlighted Addenbrookes’ strengths.
Futhermore we have been talking to key contacts to ensure that they share this attitude. I have met the chairs of two of the trusts, including Addenbrookes itself, and will shortly be meeting with the chair of the CCG.
And finally as a part of its regular program of scrutiny the Health Committee will be scrutinising the Addenbrookes’ response to the CQC judgement in November. This will be attended by the CSC, Addenbrookes and the CCG.”

Don’t play Bob the Builder with the Green Belt!

BobLast week, the Tory-led Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet voted to start putting together a business case for developing housing on Wort’s Causeway. The County owns 8.5 hectares of land to the south of Wort’s Causeway, known in the Local Plan consultation as GB2, GB1 being a slightly smaller parcel of land to the north.

I think this was premature. Both sites are still in the green belt, despite the fact that the City and District Councils’ Local Plans have proposed that they come out so they can be built on. As the Local Plan has not yet been decided, I think the County Council should wait before it starts playing Bob the Builder. To do otherwise is hugely disrespectful to the hundreds of people who have made representations about these sites. It is also speculative, making assumptions about the outcome of the Local Plan.

Although the County Council Cabinet takes major decisions, backbencher councillors are able to call in decisions and have them debated by overview and scrutiny committees. That is what I did, along with colleagues from Histon & Impington, East Chesterton and Fulbourn.

The paper was discussed at the Resources scrutiny committee this afternoon (download hereHousing call-in). Histon councillor Mike Mason and I addressed the committee and expressed our concerns regarding the prematurity of the decision, the principle of the County providing housing, and whether the business case development is properly provided for in the Council’s budget. I am pleased to say that the committee voted to refer the decision back to the Cabinet, who will now need to take a fresh look.

Watch this space.

Here is a transcript of what I said at the meeting today:

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