Carry on regardless – Who needs publicity in West Herts ?

Publicising changes to NHS services that are not going to be popular can’t be a nice job. But somebody has to do it ? Right ?

Well maybe not. Maybe not if you’re @HVCCG 

Compared to the neighbouring clinical commissioning group in East & North Hertfordshire, it’s a no contest. Same goes compared to West Essex.

Each of the meetings being held locally in East and North Herts has been “tweeted” about about 3 or 4 days beforehand and have included details of what gong to be changing. Excellent.

They’ve also used an online platform called Eventbrite so people can register for a ticket, and see what other meetings are available in the area. While it’s not necessaryto “register” to come along, it gives the people running it an idea of how many people are coming, and gives the people attending the reassurance that they’ll get in if it’s going to be a packed meeting. Brilliant !

Clearly the guys running the twitter feed at East & North Herts are trying to encourage their followers to come along or are at least trying to make it look like people could have had a say.

In fact they have also tweeted about the general changes twice, IVF once and cross herts changes 4 times.

And then we compare that to the Herts Valleys CCG’s effort. Since the initiative was announced on their website on the 6th of July there has been no news on their website about local meetings. This screenshot was taken on the 15th of July. 

OK so lets not be too mean, maybe they put it somewhere else. Where might that be ? Lets have a look in the events page on their website…..

Nope not there either. Maybe they use some other kind of way to communicate to people and don’t put these kind of things on their website. Hmmmm probably a good idea to put it on more than one place you’d think ????

But wait….. They do……Phew. They put it on twitter. Brilliant. Lets go there and check………

Oh wait.

Empty. Zip. Nada

There’s nothing there….. No tweets about the changes, no tweets about local meetings. Nothing. Zip, nada, nowt ! But wait a minute, how many times did neighbouring East & North Herts tweet about this ? 10 times.

OK so there is ONE re-tweet (which if you’re not up in your tweet terminology means that they saw someone else’s tweet and showed it to their followers) – but it’s not them tweeting with any news. In fact in this case, they re-tweeted East & North Herts CCG’s tweet about the meetings going on in East and North Herts NOT on their own doorstep. So lets get this right you advertised someone else’s meetings but not your own. DOH !

So where are the meetings that they are having ??? Who can go ? How have they told the public that there are changes happening to their healthcare that they are by asking the general public about ???

Are we in a timewarp ?

Well if we were asking this question in the future, we would ask them where was this consultation, who was informed about it and how did they inform everyone about it. Which is precisely what we did when we asked what consultation went on to decide to remove the hospital from Hemel Hempstead. We asked them to provide us with the evidence that they had consulted with the public. They they responded to our FOI. (it’s coming soon.) They rolled out a HUGE list of meetings that were held all over the place. The only trouble was none of them were actually telling the general public what was going on, and none of them were in places that make any sense. One of them for example was at a local train station. When you’re going to catch a train, do you really have time to stop and talk to someone about closing your local hospital. Of course not.

Getting back to the present day, we DO know there’s a “drop in” session happening on Monday the 17th of July at Sportspace in Hemel Hempstead. We know this because we found the only place IN THE UNIVERSE that this event has been publicised. The ONLY way ANYONE in the entire area of West Herts will have found out about this meeting will if they had visited this website and found the calendar of events.

The session is NOT on the website, they haven’t publicised it on their Facebook page, and they haven’t put it on Twitter. Talk about a joke.

The sad thing here is that if you don’t tell anyone about the changes, they cant come along to the meeting and say they object. If nobody objected then the changes go through. This is all about how difficult it is for the average guy in the street to be made aware of these changes – as the CCG has a legal duty to do. They should

a) Publicise the change/event

b) Listen to public opinion and feedback

c) Do something about it.

Who is doing a good job ?

In the case of West Essex, they are publicising the events, have NOT agreed to put these cuts through and ARE from what we can see genuinely consulting.

East & North Herts are publicising the events but we don’t know whether they have already agreed to make the cuts.

Herts Valleys on the other hand have already decided to make the cuts, have not publicised the events, and it really doesn’t matter if they listen to the public opinion so long as there is a  “story” to tell later that of course they “engaged” with the public. Of course the kicker is that not only have they wasted public money on going to an event that nobody will turn up to, they haven’t got the money to do it in the first place as they are already massively overspent. If I had a child at Nascot Lawn and I learnt that the CCG had cut the service because they didn’t have the money, and then learnt that they had wasted money on these “events” I’d be REALLY angry. The way that’s going, the people affected will be taking the CCG to court.

How dare these people waste money BEFORE providing critical respite care for these people.

So come on NHS England. Do what the local MP said. Make the Herts CCG accountable for their actions. 

Better healthcare and real consultation in West Essex ?

NHS in West Essex listens more than East and North Hertfordshire + Herts Valleys .

Over the border in nearby West Essex, the guys over there ARE following the meaning of consultation, unlike their nearby colleagues in NHS East and North Hertfordshire and NHS Herts Valleys.

As reported today on their news announcement page, the West Essex CCG have announced a CONSULTATION to cut SOME of the things announced last Friday by their neighbours in East, North and Herts Valleys CCG.

We put consultation in BOLD because it really is a consultation and SOME because they have not gone as far thereby creating a discrepancy in the way healthcare is developed and delivered across Herts and Essex.

Here’s what West Essex said ….

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG)

  • Limiting the routine prescription of medicines and products that can be bought without prescription for short-term conditions and minor ailments.
  • Reducing or stopping the availability of NHS-funded IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and specialist fertility services.

Whereas over the border the change is bigger

NHS East and North Hertfordshire and NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

  • Tightening up existing rules so that people who smoke or whose weight is classified as ‘obese’ are required to make bigger improvements to their health before non-urgent surgery – unless a longer wait for surgery would be harmful
  • Limiting the routine prescription of food supplements, as well as medicines and products that can be bought without prescription for short-term conditions and minor ailments
  • Restricting the prescribing of gluten-free foods
  • Stopping NHS funding for female sterilisation procedures
  • Reducing or stopping the availability of NHS- funded IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and specialist fertility services, apart from in exceptional circumstances (West Essex CCG is also consulting its residents on this issue).

So if you’re in an area covered by NHS East and North Hertfordshire and NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) you’re about to get hit  worse than if you’re in West Essex. Maybe this is because Herts Valleys are in financial turnaround but are East Herts CCG too ? We don’t know.  Perhaps people in East & North Herts are being penalised as they are in the same CCG group as Herts Valleys. (Yes this is sooo confusing isn’t it).

And as we were saying on Friday, if you think you’re getting consulted in West Herts (and East Herts) think again.

The interesting thing here is that West Essex have not actually agreed to make these cuts yet. Their board have NOT voted to agree the cuts and there’s a chance that they may actually listen to their public, and then discuss and agree. So they are actually doing what they should and as Wikipedia says doing the

  1. Notification
  2. Consultation
  3. Participation

If you want the full definition of consultation read the OCED document.

Of course West Herts continue to pretend that they are consulting and have just jumped to the participation bit….. and called it consulting. Again.