Lib Dem County Councillor Brian Greenslade has been campaigning for many months for the ending of the current Devon Success Regime project. This letter to the Chief Executive NHS England begins a chain of correspondence to various NHS agencies.
Letter dated 25th September 2016
25th September 2016
Mr Simon Stevens,
Chief Executive NHS England,
PO Box 16738,
Cc Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt,
Norman Lamb MP.
Dear Mr Stevens,
I believe the Devon Success Regime project is now seriously compromised and it is not now safe to proceed to public consultation. Accordingly I would urge you to cancel this Project forthwith. I have already written to the Secretary of State to say this. In addition I do not believe NHS England can consider service changes until the issue of fair funding for the Devon CCG area is considered first. Failure to do so will lead to cuts in services which will be very damaging to already lowly funded NHS services especially at the North Devon District Hospital.
Elaborating on this introduction I would firstly raise the issue of serious leaks, in particular the draft STP document, which as given rise to much speculation as to what The final recommendations from the Success Regime will be to the extent that the rumour and speculation as become fact in the public mind. Therefore I believe it will not be possible to conduct a meaningful formal consultation. The project should be stopped!
Arising from a recent meeting the Success Regime team had with the Devon Health Scrutiny Committee it seemed to me and others present that Ruth Carnell expressed the view that NHS England believed that the Devon CCG area received too much funding. If this be the case then you have predetermined the proposed consultation. In such circumstances you cannot proceed with the Success Regime project.
Thirdly the position of the Success Regime Independent Chair Ruth Carnell.
According to information freely available on the internet I read "a team from Carnell Farrer, led by Ben Richardson and Ruth Carnell, was initially brought in to develop a detailed case for change which would set the scene for a programme of strategic change.". Further I read "following this initial phase Carnell Farrer secured the first part of the second phase of work.".
I really do not see how Ruth Carnell can be the Independent Chair of the Devon Success Regime project. Her involvement via her consultancy work has compromised her position. She has a clear conflict of interests. Another reason to scrap the Devon Success Regime project! As a matter of public interest how much as been paid to Carnell Farrer for their Devon Success Regime work?
The issue of fair funding. It is being claimed that without intervention there will be a deficit in Devon of some £400m. However I would put to you does this take account of the additional £10bn of funding the Government say they are giving to NHS England?How much of this claimed deficit is due to spending or how much is due to the Devon CCG receiving low funding?
Looking through NHS funding tables for 2016/17 it seems to me that compared to Cumbria, an area similar to Devon, we in Devon receive £249.73 less per person than in Cumbria. Times the Devon CCG population of 906,428 means that we in Devon receive a massive £226,362,264 less in NHS funding than we would receive if we were funded at the Cumbria level. I am sending a copy of my workings with the hard copy of this letter.
There are other examples which show the Devon CCG is poorly funded compared to other CCGs but for the moment I am content to use similar Cumbria as a comparator.
This disparity in NHS funding cannot be fair. If Devon got funded at the Cumbria level then the issue of the claimed £400m deficit would be radically altered. Before considering damaging changes to NHS services in Devon a proper evaluation of the issue of fair funding must be addressed first. This is particularly important to North Devon Hospital acute services because of the long distances to Exeter, Plymouth or Torbay.
Lastly I would ask what as been the cost of the Devon Success Regime to date and is there any truth in the allegations made to me that NHS Executives engaged in the Success Regime have had substantial pay rises to do the work?