I've been meaning to post something on this subject for a couple of weeks now, just to let everyone know what's happening in Yorkshire and the Humber.
As a network, we've had this isssue on our radar for sometime now - going back to when the first Safe and Sustainable newsletter was distributed back in August / September 2009. With a single surgical centre in the region (based in Leeds), the network has kept a watching brief, particualrly given that the review always stated that 'fewer, larger centres' was one of the objectives.
Clearly, we expected the outcome of the review and associated consultation options to be published sometime ago - until the mini review and analysis of mortality data was commissioned in October 2010 (following the publication of data provided by an independent third party). At that time, when it was first suggested that the consultation would take place in early 2011, concerns were raised with the national team about the potential impact of local elections - not only in terms of timing, but also in relation to the membership of HOSCs following local elections. While we have an extended consultation period (i.e. 4 months rather than the statutory 3 months), I feel such concerns were largely ignored and not given sufficient consideration. Indeed, in the draft communications plan that I've seen, there is little detail around how statutory consultees (i.e. HOSCs) will be consulted as part of the overall consultation phase - with only a passing reference to 'scrutiny bodies' as one of the target audiences.
Nonetheless, with the support of my fellow scrutiny colleagues across Yorkshire and the Humber, we have established a Joint HOSC to examine the proposals in more detail, provide a consultation response and/ or agree an inquiry report/ recommendations. Each of the 15 HOSCs across the region is represented on the joint HOSC, which, to date, has met in public on two seperate occassions. We also had a briefing meeting in January 2011, prior to the JCPCT meeting in February 2011.
The joint committee is being hosted and supported by Leeds City Council (in line with the localy developed and agreed joint health scrutiny protocol) and details from the meetings held to date are available using the following link: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ieListMeet...&Year=2011
A range of information and additional activities have been identified to help the joint committee gather the necessary evidence to provide a consultation response and/or inquiry report.
In addition, following the post form Denise (from Hampshire County Council), I can confirm that the Joint HOSC (Yorkshire and Humber) is seeking a 3-month extension of the public consultation period, to allow it to complete its review. The national review team have been made aware of this recommendation, however I'm currently drafting the interim report that presents this more formally. The Joint HOSC has invited the Safe and Sustainable Programme Director and Chair of the JCPCT to attend a future meeting, however we are still waiting for details of availability in this regard.
From the initial meetings, it has become clear that patient numbers and associated demographic data will be invaluable to the joint HOSC. As such, I've been working with colleagues from the Specialised Commissioning Group (Yorkshire and the Humber) and the local hospital Trust to ensure that such data is consistently produced and made available.
I hope this gives colleagues a flavour of whats happening in this region, but should anyone have any queries or need any additional information, please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org