And they're off. Last night was the first meeting for me and other Cllrs for the first Committee meeting of this Council's year.
Last night was a pretty long meeting and for a number of reasons. This committee is there to look at the health aspect of the people of Wigan. The way that the local Government framework is set up is a few Labour Cllrs in a Cabinet make the decisions. The Scrutiny Committees are there to hold them to account and in all my years they have never gone against a decision of the Cabinet. Just goes to show that they don't work because over the years the Cabinet have made some howlers.
Anyway moving on so last night first item was about the Devo Manc where 6bn of funding is coming to the 10 local authorities that make up Greater Manchester. I have a number of issues with what we have. First and foremost where did the 6bn arrive from. Did someone sit down and say these services will cost 6bn? Or did they they say 6bn will be enough to fund everything in this plan? I would guess not. The figure was arrived at by the Government and said you are getting 6bn to run the services. The NHS cost a lot and I am unsure if this figure will come with the NHS in the area and social care, another expensive area.
Secondly, I want to see and understand re-admissions. Now I might have an interest in this because I was set home out of hospital myself in 2013 so that they freed up my bed. Prior to this I say them going round the ward saying right send him home. Not, they are well enough now so you can release them. However, the number of re-admissions is high and last yr I learnt that Wigan has the highest re-admissions. For me the most cost effective way to way to treat someone is get it right first time!
Fundamentally, there is no plan B if this 6bn is not enough or it goes wrong having the 10 Greater Manchester Authorities run them. One Labour Cabinet member said last night that doing it ourselves cannot get be any worse! Really? So they have done this deal that effects us so much just because they think they can do better - but have no plan or idea how or why they can do it better. O dear we are now getting fag packets out and drawing plans on them now. Doing things this way is a disaster waiting to happen.
Whilst I am not totally against doing things locally I do think they need to be thought out and worked first. For example if someone was setting up business and worked out a business plan and then found they needed £x to make it work. They wouldn't just start without working out what they needed and how it all worked.
Another item on the agenda was Dementia and I think the key thing that I took out of this was we need to stop the stigma people have with Dementia or even the illness. I agree and it will be interesting some of the work that is being done and I wish the team well and look forward to seeing how they achieve getting better in this area.
Finally, there was an item about living well and it is about if someone keeps coming back for Food Parcels we need to know why and get to the root problem. This is just one example there are many more. I agree with this area we simply can't just be a net to life off we need to understand how we can help and where we can help. That way it is better if we can learn more and then help them people to help themselves. It would help their confidence, their way of life and so much more. One of the interesting things that I saw in the presentation was that a large majority hit this team they had been in the system, asking for help, but then going round and round, only them to hit rock bottom and for me one of the first things that needs to be done - which has been identified, is for teams to work together. That way people don't go round and round and then get worse. Hopefully this will get resolved and that will reduce the number of people hitting the crisis team.