The District Council have finally admitted that it has been let down by the contractor responsible for emptying litter bins.
Local Liberal Democrats have long been concerned by both the clinical and the financial performance of the West Herts Hospital Trust which runs the Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals. The Trust has a long history financial deficits, a chronic failure to maintain its buildings and, in 2013, a higher than expected standardised mortality indicator.
Last year it was branded as “inadequate” by health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, and put under “special measures”.
Next month the Trust is due for a follow-up inspection by the Commission. However, even before the inspectors arrive things don’t look good. The Trust is failing to hit the national target for seeing GP referred patients in less than 18 weeks.
Luckily for the Trust, however, they are getting a helping hand towards their coming re-assessment. The local Clinical Commissioning Group has contacted GP practices and asked them as a matter of urgency not to refer patients for 8 major treatment areas to the West Herts Hospital Trust during August, September and October. They should instead refer their patients – other than those needed to be seen urgently or within 2-weeks - to other NHS and independent sector providers.
Local Liberal Democrats are asking three questions:
1. Should our Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) be asking GPs to send NHS patients to independent sector hospitals and clinics?
2. Should they be asking GPs to divert patients away from the Trust like this at all?
3. Isn’t this artificial suppression of demand going to distort the situation in the Trust’s hospitals that the Care Quality Commission is trying to assess objectively?
Lib Dem County Councillor for Tring and the Villages, Nick Hollinghurst said, “We want answers to these questions. I shall be asking HCC’s Health Scrutiny Committee to look into this and ask both the West Herts Trust and the CCG to explain what looks like some rather cynical game-playing!”
Liberal Democrats Town Councillor in Berkhamsted Garrick Stevens said:
“This is an outrageous situation. Not only does it frustrate the work of the Care Quality Commission but it calls into question the willingness and ability of the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group to impartially commission health services on behalf of the public.”
“This major disruption by the HVCCG to the GP and patient choice of acute services in West Herts raises serious questions on where the HVCCG’s priorities actually lie.”
Liberal Democrat County Health spokesperson Chris White added: 'This is very worrying, especially in the context of the national financial position facing the NHS. I will certainly be raising the issue at the next meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee.'
Last week, Cllr Chris White went as part of a Local Government Association team to see first-hand the conditions of Calais' "Jungle" refugee camp, and raise awareness of the continued plight of the people living there.
St Albans Liberal Democrats have selected Daisy Cooper to take on Anne Main and the Conservatives in the event of a snap General Election, and fight to become the next MP.
On 5 May there is an election for the Police and Crime Commissioner.
This is still not something that many electors feel they know much about – and some are actively opposed to the idea. The refusal of the Government to provide any funds for these elections – in contrast to what is provided for the election of MPs does not help.
Basically residents are being asked to elect what used to be the Chair of the Hertfordshire Police Authority – except that there is no longer anything approaching a Police Authority to hold the Commissioner to account.
The Conservatives running Herts County Council pushed through a cut of over 11% from the local highways budget of £90,000. This £90,000 was allocated to County Councillors to get local roads and pavements resurfaced that the County would not otherwise do. It's now been cut.
Figures released by Shelter show that the Government's planned intervention to scale back the amount of social housing in the country will have a massive effect on St Albans.
Yesterday’s Autumn Statement was full of bold headline figures, but already we can see that all is not as good as it may initially seem, according to local Liberal Democrats.
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Central Watford and Oxhey), Leader of the Opposition on Hertfordshire County Council said, “This is a politically clever statement that may at first look appeal to the person on the street, but we can already see several significant problems in it.
At yesterday’s meeting of the County Council, the Conservative administration massively downplayed the urgency of the funding crisis facing the County’s schools. The crisis, which has already seen teachers losing their jobs, class sizes increased and subjects cut, is set to get very much worse in coming years.