Author Archives: Jill Elson

HUB Bus

picture 4picture 2Exmouth Community Transport Group hands back the HUB bus after managing for the last 2 years as the HUB was developed. Jill Elson(chairman) said it had been a pleasure to look after the HUB bus that was paid for by the ‘Parishes Together Fund’ managed by East Devon District Council. We wish the new Well Being Hub created from the Budleigh Salterton Community Hospital every success. The HUB is for everyone who resides in the WEB Consortium GP’s area – Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, East Budeligh, Otterton, Colaton Raleigh, Woodbury, Lympstone.

This is about giving patients local services provided by the CCG in partnership with the new HUB. The bus is to make sure patients can access this new facility.

 

 

Official Opening of Mamhead Slipway, Exmouth

Hugo and RNLI MamheadHugo and Chairman of EDDC Cllr Andrew MouldingMamhead Slipway all councillors plusMamhead Slipway all councillors plus East Devon MP Rt.Hon. Sir Hugo Swire, performed the official opening ceremony at Exmouth’s new £1.5 million Mamhead Slipway on Tuesday (1 August).Councillors on Devon County Council, EDDC and Exmouth Town Council and members of Exmouth RNLI were among the spectators as the MP cut a ribbon to declare the slipway ‘open to shipping’.

The new slipway provides a vital access point to the River Exe at all states of the tide and is expected to be heavily used during the current summer holidays, as well as being a state-of-the-art year-round facility for water-users.

Exmouth Seafront

Walk to MamheadThe PavilionQueens Drive Car ParkPremier InnWe welcome the opening of Mamhead Slip way on Tuesday 1 August 2017 at 12 noon.

Notices have been put up advising people not to tombstone off the walls as it is very dangerous and this photo shows the rocks at the bottom.

 

Giant Observation Wheel has arrived opposite the Pavilion. It will be open on Saturday 29 July 2017. This will be there for 28 days and the operator is asking for a further 2 weeks.

Views can be seen across and up and down the Estuary. Prices for rides are £5 for adults, £3.50 for children and OAP’s and a family ride (2 adults and 2 Children) costs £15 It will open at 10am and close at 6pm each day. The ride will last 8 minutes

Grenadier has announced that it will be bringing its proposals to the people of Exmouth very shortly. The building will be environmental friendly and will not use the whole site. It will use that part that is currently behind the beach huts (approximately) and the rest of the car park will be landscaped to allow for an area of grass so that stalls can be erected to have festivals or competition gazeebos etc.

The Premier Inn has been successful in providing jobs for local people and very good standard of accommodation for visitors. The Land Train is providing a way of people to access various parts of Exmouth at a reasonable price.

Danby House/Exebank site

Work has begun by Devon and Cornwall Housing Association to transform Danby House and Exebank site into homes.

There will 18 homes for sale on the front of the site facing the Estuary similar to those along at Kingslake. A further 18 homes alongside the entrance to Warren View Playing Fields from Halsdon Avenue will be for rent/shared ownership/low cost sale. East Devon District council will nominate the families for these homes.

Exmouth Hospital

Exmouth HospitalThe New Devon CCG has agreed to keep 16 beds in Exmouth Hospital. It will continue to have a minor Injuries unit run by the Claremont Medical Practice. It will still have an X Ray department and operating theatre for minor operations. The Hospital is already providing more local treatments for example transfusions to save people travelling to Exeter. More RDE Consultants are having consultations at Exmouth Hospital. More services will become available as the transformation of services take place.

Exmouth Regeneration

20150302_163110East Devon District Council has agreed to continue funding Exmouth regeneration. The 10 Conservative Councillors agree that Exmouth needs to update in a positive way to ensure that the economy grows to create jobs. Conservatives wish to encourage all its young people to be able seek good quality employment locally. It is about the next 20 years. Over 2300 students attend Exmouth Community College and is planning to rise to 2900, and they need to see a future for Exmouth.

The first discussions took place in 2010 when many of us stood in the Strand listening to people and had a shop with displays for people to make their comments. Those plans have to be constantly reviewed or adapted to the challenging economic conditions we face. It is also important that all views are taken into account. It is very easy to criticise but we need to be constructive and it is easy to object but decisions have to be made that will not always be popular with everyone. In a democracy a consensus has to be reached as none of us will win every discussion but we must respect other peoples’ opinion.

It should be noted that all the regeneration is taking place on land that EDDC owns. The Strand – now being used for events and in people sitting outside the cafes etc, Premier Inn has been a success and it was not sold to the highest bidder because EDDC owned the land and it decided who to sell it to. Mamhead Slipway became very dangerous and had to be rebuilt. Many discussions took place with water users and civil engineers to find the best solution. It has now opened at a cost of over £1 million. The land at Queens Drive is to leased to future ‘developers’ in order that EDDC will still control its use. Grenadier who wish to provide a watersports centre for all, is setting up a Community Interest Company (not for profit). It will be in the public domain early in the New Year, when ALL residents will be able to make their comments. The rest of the area will be for open public discussion and ALL Councillors (no matter which Party they represent) will listen to the many different views/ideas that are coming forward from all ages. Exmouth Councillors will have to come to a consensus as they do not all think the same and I am sure will have some  very healthy discussions.

The Estuary side from Camperdown Gut to Estuary Car park is under review due to the changing economics and online shopping. We will need more parking for boats who use the Mamhead Slipway. Plans for the station area are being brought forward and M & S is being built and will open in the New Year. The Sports/Leisure Centre is being upgraded. Many people have asked me ‘Why is the Magnolia Centre not being regenerated? ‘ The reason is that EDDC does not own the ‘newer’ Magnolia Centre(the former bomb site) - it is owned by a Pension Fund, the shops on the other side are owned by various people, EDDC owns the London Inn Car Park.

Jill Elson

Exmouth Town Hall

Exmouth Town Hall

Exmouth Town Hall

I have been arguing that Exmouth should have an outsource centre, being the largest Town in Devon and is accessible by over 40% of the population of East Devon DC area since the discussions began on moving its headquarters from The Knowle, Sidmouth to more cost effective offices to reduce costs. EDDC is also using digital technology more. I am very pleased that this has now been confirmed by the last Cabinet meeting of EDDC.

The refurbishment has been brought forward as DCC vacated the top 2 floors. This was agreed at the last Cabinet Meeting. The building does need extensive works to upgrade it for modern offices and places where we meet the visitors – including a new boiler/heating system and new roof.

The housing needs and benefit teams have done some excellent work meeting face to face with people who are in difficulties. The Housing needs team is now doing excellent work in preventing people from becoming homeless making sure they have the correct benefits, the correct paperwork from landlords if they are being evicted – for several reasons not just rent arrears but also the Landlord wishes to sell the property etc. EDDC works very closely with landlords. We now have fewer people in temporary overnight accommodation now down to 4 per annum. Environmental Health have to visit the most food establishments within Exmouth and the surrounding area. Over 70 EDDC staff will be moving in. Digital working also means that we visit more people in their own homes or can fill in the necessary documentation on site.

The headquarters is proposed to be in Honiton on land EDDC already own. This will be modern offices. The building will have the up to date insulation etc making it much cheaper to run. EDDC has already reduced its back office staff and is working with other Councils in partnership to reduce administration costs. This is all to ensure we keep the frontline services that our residents wish to keep at a good quality. EDDC still has to make more savings as Government funding reduces another £2 million in the coming year.

Funding of Exmouth Community College

20161115_091009Exmouth Community College as an Academy is registered as a Charity and is funded directly by Department of Education through the Education Funding Agency(EFA). We are monitored by the EFA on a very regular basis as well as being independently audited and our accounts can be seen on the College website. As Chair of Governors I meet Mr Alexander every week. If anything is urgent extra meetings are added or phone calls.

The College receives funding in various categories. We were very disappointed by the Government Funding review and were informed at the last week of term that we would have reduced funding of £79,000 under the new formula. I have written to our MP, Sir Hugo Swire on behalf of all the Governors.

We are also very concerned at the Devon County Council shortfall in the ‘High Needs Block’ funding for those young people who qualify based on their individual assessment for their ‘Education Health Care Package’. As a member of the ‘Devon Education Forum’ I, along with others on the forum vote against the suggestion by the DCC officers to reduce funding to every school by £55 per pupil(meeting held on 19 October 2016 available on DCC website). In the case of Exmouth Community College this will be approximately £120,000 with immediate effect. Devon County Council Cabinet may make a decision at its meeting in January. I have also raised this with our MP Sir Hugo Swire.

It is important for everyone to know that we have the same pressures on our budgets as small businesses and our grant from the EFA is fixed by them based on the number of students counted in January. We have, during the past year and ongoing  also had the following increases in our budget expenditure of the following:

  • Implications of the National Living Wage
  • Increased National Insurance contributions
  • Introduction Apprenticeship Levy
  • Increased teacher pension contributions plus further increases planned for 2019
  • Falling demographics
  • Reduction to the Education Services Grant and indeed the total loss of ESG in 2017/18
  • Address the maintenance backlog
  • Cash flat budgets
  • Absorb staff increments and inflationary increases
  • Potential increases to Local Government Pension Scheme contributions as a result of the current review being undertaken
  • Reductions to Post 16 funding
  • Increased costs due to high level instances of Mental Health issues growing within schools

Jill Elson

Community Hospital Consultation Nov 2016

Exmouth Hospital

Exmouth Hospital

MEDIA RELEASE FROM EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL CONSERVATIVE GROUP – FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Monday 21 November 2016   From Phil Twiss, Group Secretary 

Conservatives call for second opinion

on Devon NHS funding crisis treatment 

ENSURE THAT BED-CUT ‘CURE’ DOESN’T DAMAGE PATIENTS 

East Devon Conservatives are deeply worried about proposals from the NEW* Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to restructure hospital care in the North, East and West of the county in a bid to plug a £400 million budget shortfall over the next three years. 

They believe the hospital bed closures proposed by the Devon health provider as the cure for a funding crisis may be the wrong treatment – and could have harmful side-effects for patients. 

The majority of the Conservative members of East Devon District Council are sending a collective response to the CCG’s current consultation in the hope of persuading the NHS commissioning group to change its approach to tackling the immediate £100m funding gap, expected to rise to £400m by 2020. 

The Conservative councillors are advising the CCG that it would be dangerous to move from a system of mostly inpatient treatment to care at home until a robust structure is in place to provide the alternative cover. Taking this step without the necessary resources in place and with no vital transition budget to call upon, could put patients at risk, they say. 

Dangerous 

Having studied the CCG’s report, Conservative group members were unimpressed with the strength of the argument in favour of bed closures and home care, especially because the CCG has not been able to provide accurate and meaningful financial detail or convincing trial evidence to back up its proposed Community Care Package. 

They also wonder if the massive funding gap could not be closed by greater attention to efficiency savings. 

And they are counselling the commissioning group not to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach to tackling the area’s financial ills, bearing in mind the differing demographics and age profiles of each local authority area in Devon, especially remote rural communities. Patient vulnerability and loneliness must also be addressed. 

The CCG appears to favour a new model of care that has been subject to limited testing, with little hard evidence that it improves the service to patients.

The Conservative group are not convinced by the scant evidence provided after their requests for more detail and are nervous of the CCG’s reliance on a notional target of county hospital beds, regardless of variations in proven need. 

Blunt instrument

They want to know more about the 80 clinicians the CCG claims to be in support of the new model. And they are sceptical of a ‘blunt instrument’ approach to treatment, especially when many elderly patients have dementia in addition to multiple clinical problems. 

Finally, the Conservative members contest that many areas in East Devon appear to have a reducing stock of nursing and residential home beds. This only aggravates the situation, because these beds are often required in the short or long term for patients stuck in hospital.

Phil Twiss, Conservative Group Secretary, said: “Some people want to boycott this consultation process – but that won’t help anyone. We believe constructive feedback is the best way. 

“We all agree that bed-blocking is a serious issue and we also accept that the clinical commissioning group need to save money. The question is how should they go about it so as to deliver results without making the situation worse. 

“We feel that they have the solution the wrong way round. They want to move to a care-in-the-home model at a time when the resources just aren’t there to support that model. It might be the right approach in theory, but it will only work in practice if the social care infrastructure is robust enough to take the strain – and it is not. 

Panic measure 

“We’re not convinced that the new model has delivered the right standard of success in trial areas and we don’t believe it can be rolled out across other parts of the county until the necessary support structure is in place. And we should not be moving to a new model as a panic measure to solve a funding shortfall that could be tackled by other means. 

“For example, a lot of money can be wasted on high-cost agency staff who appear to be a short-term emergency man-power fix but all too often are relied upon as part of the workforce establishment. 

“We don’t know whether the budget shortfall was perhaps caused by wasteful practices that are still in place, and so we don’t know whether the CCG could find alternative ways to save money. What we do know is that their current proposals are unconvincing and ill-advised”. 

East Devon Conservatives, will be responding to the CCG consultation with their views and will be calling on the commissioning group to think again. 

Ends 

* NEW stands for North East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group 

Editor’s Notes

Below in more detail are the concerns of the Conservative Group members, set out under headings that will form part of the response to the CCG consultation.

Costs

From the beginning the CCG have been reluctant to examine and discuss, in any depth, the budget drivers and financial imperatives needed to reduce costs. Initial figures they produced made no economic sense and were not explained. The business plan proved difficult to read and thus difficult to prompt conclusions. The group agreed we should demand from the CCG a clear breakdown of the economic drivers and the true cost elements relating to the pressing desire to reduce beds. The CCG appeared reluctant to provide such information and without it neither alternative conclusions nor agreement with the business plan could be made. The group understood the degree of difficulty faced by the CCG in relation to the chosen model of care and the need to save over £400m in a very short time. But the approach adopted by the CCG was not supported due to concerns related directly to standards of care in far-flung rural communities. 

Illogical

Delays almost always resulted from a lack of care packages leading to congestion and bed- blocking.  The CCG have concluded that they must close beds to provide for Care in the Community. This is backwards thinking and will put patients at risk when the standard of care falls short of what is needed.  Existing Care Commissioning trials are scattered, lack direction and lack the necessary particular skill-based teams required to care for complex cases. 

Unproven

The CCG insists that some areas in Devon are working well, that outcomes are good and patient vulnerabilities are significantly reduced.  However, the public reaction to this contention was negative, volatile and immediate, especially from the Torridge area. The group was concerned at the lack of evidence provided to back up the CCG contention that outcomes were good and the model of care was working well. Only anecdotal reassurance has been presented. We also needed examples of true costs of the trials concluded in North Devon and to what degree the results were skewed by investment or funding from elsewhere.  

Dangerous

Discharging patients once beds are closed, without a proper care and rehabilitation package in place, is irresponsible and unethical. The issue is being addressed back to front.  If care in the community worked, there would be a case to reduce beds except for complex or special circumstances. The CCG started the process from the wrong place.  Put the care packages in place, technically resourced and nursing care led, and the need for hospital beds would simply fall away.  BUT the resource needed has not been addressed and it must be accepted that without a properly funded transition budget the desired outcome will not be achieved.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul will not work. Intermediate beds would always be needed but the true need was not identified. The only justification was the experiment in North Devon, which we have rejected.  All the evidence, and a lack of same to the contrary, suggests that there are insufficient choices other than a “much needed elsewhere” hospital bed. The model of care regime has clearly been adopted but the initial funding support is not evident.  Indeed it could be concluded that the CCG and their funding partners were trying to avoid costs but were risking levels of patient care as a result.

The group remained concerned that the necessary investment in nurses and clinicians had been underestimated and as a result trying to fund the process by closing hospital beds had been adopted as an alternative to that very necessary investment. This concern raised questions related to the responsibilities and providers of care systems, including the NHS, Devon CC and the CCG. Concerns were raised that plans to cut community care by £30m were misguided and should be suspended until the Community Care Package scheme was running successfully and properly funded.   

Other questions

There are special questions to be addressed within the overall community care process regarding the use of community hospitals, associated Hospice facilities and the formation of MIU centres and Clinical Hubs whether managed by GPs or not. The group were really concerned about the future of the services from the buildings and the considerable element of care they continued to provide in support of their communities.

The discussion regarding the future provision of such services and care centred hubs cannot be set to one side and ignored during the on-going debate over beds and rural clinical care.

The staffing levels needed to make this work are not attainable locally or nationally. 

Conclusion

There is no plausible argument that supports closing beds before the alternative is up and running.

Going into hospital is easy – it is leaving hospital that is difficult. There are neither enough choices available nor are there sufficient resources to cover the medical and clinical needs.

The older age demographic, single person issues and rural delivery variables have not been addressed in a way to satisfy even impartial observers. The fear is that patients will be even more vulnerable than they are today and bed occupation rates will increase leading to impoverished clinical outcomes especially in rural areas.

The hoped-for ‘Model of Care’ cannot be done in bits and pieces.  It needs investment on a spend-to-save principle. If the community care package works, and there is some evidence that it might, some of the beds will prove to be unnecessary, and clinical outcomes will improve.

Some aspects of patient vulnerability are greater in a rural, lower populated area, particularly when social and family care is missing. Loneliness must be understood and its part in causing poor clinical outcomes must be properly considered. 

 

Queens Drive

Tory anger at Queen’s

Drive ‘done deal’ gibes 

CONSERVATIVES SAY ‘WE’RE THE ONLY PARTY

WITH EXMOUTH’S TRUE INTERESTS AT HEART’

 

East Devon Conservatives have reacted angrily to “politically motivated” claims that proposals for parts of the Queen’s Drive leisure upgrade in Exmouth are “a done deal”. 

And they have called suggestions that officers working on the project for East Devon District Council should be sacked as “shameful”. 

The Conservative Group were reacting to accusations made by East Devon Alliance (EDA) representatives at a meeting of EDDC’s Cabinet last week, when a decision was taken to persevere with proposals to reinvigorate the “tired” leisure zone to attract more visitors and make Exmouth a year-round holiday destination. 

They believe that EDA are using a sense of uncertainty about the seafront proposals among a dwindling group of people in Exmouth to stir up unrest purely for political gain. 

And they poured scorn on suggestions that officers working for the district council should be sacked for the part they are playing in delivering the vision for Exmouth described in the Exmouth Masterplan. 

TIRED AND ANGRY 

Phil Twiss, Conservative Group Secretary and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “We’re growing tired and angry at the EDA’s continuing attempts to stir up protests against our plans to refresh and revive Exmouth’s seafront. We accept that there will always be people with differing views on the right ingredients for success, but the silent majority in Exmouth are not being represented by those who just want to stir up trouble to gain a perverse political advantage”. 

He said suggestions that the emerging plans for a water-sports centre and other facilities on Queen’s Drive are a ‘done deal’ were absurd. “It shows either a very blinkered view – that anything they disagree with must be wrong – or a pitiful ignorance of the procedures that must be followed before any decisions are taken. All these procedures include public consultation and are subject to scrutiny by bodies like the town and county councils and the Regeneration Programme Board”. 

He dismissed fears over funding shortfalls, saying the council was committed to delivering the proposals and was confident that these could be financed by a combination of private sector investment and grant funding. 

Phil Twiss added that, against difficult odds, council officers were working hard to deliver the aspirations set out by the council’s Conservative leadership, which are not only consistent with ideas first outlined in the Exmouth Masterplan in 2011, but have been the subject of public scrutiny since.  He said it was “shameful” to suggest that officers should be sacked when they were doing their job. 

He went on: “Voters in Exmouth have long been fully aware of our plans – and yet we retained many Exmouth seats on the district council in 2015 and have won most by-elections in the town since then. We’re confident that we have a mandate from the public to forge ahead with our plans to reinvigorate the resort’s economy and improve employment opportunities for young people growing up in Exmouth. 

SHORTAGE 

“Exmouth Community College is the largest secondary school in the UK. We owe it to the young people studying hard and leaving school to provide employment opportunities for the many who would like to stay in the area, rather than being forced to move elsewhere by a shortage of jobs other than those offering only short-term, seasonal work. 

“We have heard from a few people in Exmouth who have questions about the proposals. Many of these queries are based on a lack of knowledge about some aspects – or sometimes a wish to know details when a plan is in its early stages and details are still unavailable. We are committed to continue informing the town as proposals are firmed up and there will be ongoing chances to comment, but you can’t jump the gun on such a complex, many-faceted project. 

“No planning application has yet been submitted by Grenadier as to their final vision for the water-sports centre, which we do know will be run by a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, with full public access. I understand they will carry out their consultation on the plans early in 2017, so people can offer their views when there is something specific to comment upon.

 “Before the end of the year we hope to release analysis of a survey carried out among visitors to Exmouth during the summer. This research was carried out by an independent company and was designed to gain a better understanding of what will attract people to visit or holiday at the resort.

 “We’ve also heard from people who agree with us that the long-standing facilities in Queen’s Drive are ‘tired’ and in urgent need of upgrading. We are grateful for this support, which we believe is more in tune with the views of the silent majority, many of whom just want to see improvements delivered without further delay, to make the most of our world-class estuary and sea views”. 

FRUSTRATING 

Enthusiastic supporters include Exmouth Chamber of Commerce, which this month urged councillors to keep going and not succumb to pressure groups’ attempts at ‘delaying and frustrating’ efforts to raise the resort’s standard so it ‘reflects modern day requirements’ of residents and tourists alike.  

Recent developments in Europe and the US could well boost interest in ‘staycations’ – holidays in the UK – and Phil Twiss said his party wanted to ensure that Exmouth had a world-class offering to help it compete for the business of thousands of potential British holidaymakers who want a range of all-weather facilities for families to enjoy. 

He pointed to projects already completed in Exmouth that were now delivering a brighter future – despite initial opposition from “diehards”. These include the revitalised Strand, now a more vibrant retail space with an expanding café culture, and of course the highly successful Premier Inn, standing on a once hotly-contested site. The new, improved Mamhead Slipway would be opening quite soon, while plans have recently been announced to re-develop the long empty Thomas Tucker building. 

Phil Twiss concluded: “Forward-thinkers are urging us to get on with our plans so that Exmouth can benefit from the improvements. Further delays that further increase costs will only be counter-productive. Conservatives will not be derailed from doing what’s best for Exmouth – especially not by political opportunists. We are the party with the town’s best interests at heart and we’re determined to deliver the brighter future that residents and visitors demand and deserve”.

ends