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Agenda item

Motion No. 42 - Leadership in health and social care at a critical time - From Councillors Chris Caswill and Graham Wright


The Chairman reported receipt of the above mentioned motion from Councillors Chris Caswill and Graham Wright. Accordingly, Councillor Chris Caswill moved the following motion which was duly seconded by Councillor Graham Wright:


“Council notes with concern the current state of the NHS and social care as it affects Wiltshire residents. Nationally attention has been drawn to “years of underfunding, impossible demands, staff shortages and breaches of performance targets” and a service “heading for draconian rationing of treatments”  (NHS Providers). “Underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched” is the view recently conveyed to the Prime Minister by the Royal College of Physicians.  The three hospitals on which the vast majority of Wiltshire residents rely are struggling to cope with these pressures, like hospital trusts across the country. All three declared red alerts in January and two of them the highest level 4 black alerts as well. 


The local NHS is now the subject of an emerging Sustainable Transformation Plan (STP) which is looking for a further £290 million of cuts across the area in which the hospitals are located, in addition to the huge so-called ‘efficiency savings’ reductions to which hospitals have already been subjected.  The STP also commits to introducing the Government-imposed seven day working with no extra resources.  Wiltshire Council has been partner in developing this STP.


Additionally the budget for Public Health in the County has recently been cut.

At the same time, social care is in a crisis of underfunding and staff shortages across the country and Wiltshire is not immune, as evidenced by the failure over the years of Help to Live at Home providers and the recent revelation that Wiltshire residents have been placed by the Council in a care home rated as inadequate and placed under Special Measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).


Council notes that the Corporate Director post became vacant on 30 September 2016 and that it has taken till 3 February to advertise a separate second tier post of Director of Public Health in the national press. Council regrets that the Cabinet has chosen, in these extremely problematic circumstances, not to fill the Corporate Director post responsible for health and social care in the County, and has left these crucial policy areas (and developments such as the STP) without the leadership of a dedicated post  at the highest level.  Council accordingly requests that the Cabinet act to remedy this situation immediately. 


Council further invites the Health Select Committee to review these recruitment and appointment decisions at its next meeting in March, and to report its conclusions to the next Administration”.


In presenting the motion, the following issues were raised: the challenges and changes in the health system at the moment; and whether the Council had capacity to respond to and positively influence a change in the system.


In response to the motion, Councillor Wickham, Cabinet Member for Health, made the following points: that he was content with the extent to which the Council was representing itself and its community’s interests; that following the vacancy at Director level, the Associate Director had been fulfilling the role of Director of Public Health; and that recruitment to permanently fill that position was being undertaken.


The following issues were highlighted in the subsequent debate: the challenges facing the NHS; the good working relationship between the Council and Health partners; the work of the officers and praise for the Corporate Directors; and the importance of Public Health within the council.

Having been put to the vote, the motion was LOST.


Resolved:       That Motion No. 42 - Leadership in health and social care at a

                        critical time be NOT adopted.







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