The most extensive and expensive police enquiry ever into council affairs

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The letter we have received from the Lancashire Police Commissioner

Cost of Liverpool Direct Limited and One Connect Lancashire Ltd enquiry reaching £2,000,000

The Police Commissioner for Lancashire Mr Clive Grunshaw has revealed that 22 staff are  still working on this enquiry three years after it was established and that it has to date cost almost £2,000,000 with enquiries and work still ongoing.

The answer came from the Commissioner as a response to a letter from Cllr Bill Winlow, the Lib Dem Leader in Lancashire and me.

In a press release issued to publicise this letter Cllr Winlow said, “The fact that the Police are directing a resource of this size into this investigation from other policing priorities in Lancashire reveals the complexity of the investigation and the scale of the necessary researches”

I said, “whilst justice must take its course it is also true that justice delayed is justice denied. We know that staff in both Liverpool and Lancashire as well as ex-staff have been interviewed under caution. We urge the Police to speed up the enquiry so that wrong doing can be made public and those who benefited made to pay. From the long experience that Cllr Winlow and I have had of local government we can say with certainty that this is the most extensive and expensive enquiry ever made into local councils.”

Before anyone gets over excited and points out that LDL was contracted to undertake work for the council whilst we controlled it I would say “that is of course absolutely correct”. However what is also absolutely irrefutable is that the relationships between Lancashire County Council and Liverpool City Council which are the subject of the police investigations were all initiated and agreed since 2010 when Labour controlled the council.

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Our Social Care Staff are marvelous!

Elderly

Getting old needn’t be too scary with the help and support available in Liverpool

Regular readers of this blog will know that In November I presented some awards at the Social Workers Award night. I realised then just how long it was since I had last met a social worker. Social workers are the unsung heroes of our care services only appearing on our political horizon when the popular press thinks they have done something wrong or we are reorganising them.

I started off in Careline and remembered the heated discussion that we had when we introduced Careline and the even more heated discussions when we attached our ‘out of hours’ social workers to the main Liverpool Direct system. The argument went, and I admit that I partly shared it, was that the complex issues that are involved cannot be dealt with over the phone. That is correct to a point. BUT a lot can be done over the phone.

Firstly they can answer simple questions. What may we be entitled to? Where can I get someone to help adapt my house; where are the support groups.

Secondly they can take a range of basic information and then pass it up the system to people who can make an initial assessment.

Thirdly they can take that assessment further in more complex cases then can make sure that a social workers sees the Individual or family for the complex assessment that is required.

Lastly, of course they can be the emergency call centre to deal quickly and adequately with desperate cases.

This may seem as though amateurs were passing cases up to professionals. Far from it. Every member of staff was trained; there was a progression route to help them advance up the qualifications ladder. Even more important was the palpable fierce commitment to the needs of the individuals and their families exhibited by every that I spoke to. I was reassured that as I get even more old and doddery someone will look after me.

I also spoke to people dealing with the needs of children and teenagers. Again they have ability over the phone to comprehend and empathize with the needs of your people and their families where so often urgent action is required. Kids who have run away need finding fast. Kids who are being battered physically or emotionally need protection fast. Fast action needs following up with more long-term solutions and I had no doubt of the ability of the staff to envisage and promote those solutions.

Particularly disturbing was the continued work that needs to be done time and time again with ‘looked after children’. We do good things but it would appear that the odds are stacked against the individuals once they enter the system. That’s why the mash IS SO IMPORTANT. This is where staff from a range of different organizations share their information to ensure appropriate joined up action. Many of the young people suffer in a succession of problems. Their families are often known to the ‘authorities’ in a number of ways. Individual needs of young people cannot be considered outside the wider needs of reshaping and supporting their families.

From Venture Place I went to see some front line work in the Granby Hub. This is a former residential home which is now used as an assessment and support centre for people who leave hospital. Here people stay for a few weeks or occasionally a few months and they are helped to relearn mobility of skills to deal with the problems which they still face after leaving hospital. It rarely has an empty bed. The Royal is on every day have you go a space, when will you have a space.

When a space is found a range of professional help the predominantly elderly people with occupational therapy, aids etc. to ready them to the return to their own home. The building is airy and spacious and the food was tempting. I’ve been invited back for a Chinese meal which rumour tells me is the favorite of a certain Samih Kalakeche!!

The financial comparisons are staggering. It costs 550 pounds to keep someone in a hospital bed for a night and 500 pounds to keep then in the Granby Hub for a week. That is why and people like Simon Stevens, the NHS England  Chief Executive are saying that if more money comes available , and it must come available, it ought to be put into social care. Getting people out of hospital; into community care and then back into their own homes where possible saves a fortune but just as importantly puts people where they want to be.

As so often my heart was lifted by seeing the education and professionalism of our staff. It is all too easy for politicians to concentrate just on the numbers of people and number of pounds. Remembering that each of these numbers is a person who is helped by another person is something that we should always remember. Perhaps every Cllr should take this pledge. On at least one afternoon every two months I will spend time with the front line staff. That would mean that our debates were better focused and that our services were better supported

 

 

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Will demonstrating save or help the NHS?

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A couple of Labour councillors criticised us Lib Dems for not supporting a demonstration yesterday in favour of the NHS. It’s a pity that they weren’t listening in the so-called debate we had on the issue on Wednesday in the council chamber. We made it clear then that demonstrations would not solve the deep rooted problems in the NHS. We asked Labour and the Greens to join all-Party efforts to look at the culture of the NHS and the ways that we raise money for it. That request was turned down. Raising banners and placards is so much easier than raising ideas.

Protests on the street are so much easier than the amount of effort that is required to deal with the issues facing the NHS. Interestingly Simon Stevens, the NHS Chief Executive, recently said that if more money were available he wouldn’t put into the NHS but into social care. This advice is spot on. The fact is that a lot of money gets wasted in the NHS but not by the people who run it or work in it but by politicians and the general public. Let’s just look a few fact s about the NHS:

  • 40,000 young people every year are needing to go to dental hospitals for multiple extractions which are too complex to be done in a dentist’s surgery. 99% of these are avoidable and they cost more than £35,000,000 a year.
  • Drugs are our second highest NHS cost. 40% of the drugs issued are not sued. This represents a waste every year of £8 billion.
  • Obesity which is almost wholly avoidable costs us £5.1 billion every year.
  • 30% of our hospital beds are occupied by people who do not need any further medical assistance but cannot be discharged.
  • 25% of hospital beds are occupied by people with problems relating to diabetes. Experts say at least half of this usage is avoidable if people ate, drank and exercised properly.

Huge sums of money then are spent on things that it should not be spent on. How will a demonstration change all that – it won’t change things at all! Yes we need more money and we need it now but more money will not, of itself, deal with the types of problems I draw attention to above.

I am particularly appalled that Labour locally thinks that demonstrating is the way forward because they had the chance to do something about these issues locally. In Greater Manchester in May they will be electing a Mayor who actually controls the £4.5 billion health budget in the area. They are already doing marvellous things through their combined authority in kinking up services in a much better way for their residents. They secured more than £400 million over 5 years to fund the transformation that is required to change the way services operate and to deal with the types of issues given above.

In Liverpool no such request was made. Labour thought that it was too difficult and didn’t want to take the blame for potential cuts. But the same Party 30 miles away stopped posturing and got on with doing things to change the NHS for the better. In Liverpool Labour rejected the Sustainable Transformation Plan. In Manchester they drew it up.

That’s why when the Mayor writes to Labour Council Leaders asking them to join a national demonstration alongside the Greens, UKIP, Lib Dems and Tories against the plans of the Tory Government he will get little response outside the Greater Liverpool area. In other areas politicians are getting on with the job – here they shy away from the task.

So what do I think or demonstrations? Do they serve any useful point?

Over almost 50 years in politics I have been on both sides of demonstrations. I was ‘bound over to keep the peace’ by participating in the ‘Stop the 70s Tour’ demonstrations against apartheid in S Africa. That ensured that attention was turned to an issue that was not much thought about at the time and gave tremendous encouragement to black and coloured South Africans.

I have got through 35,000 people at a demonstration outside the Town Hall when Militant were in full flow. I ignored those protests but I was talking directly to the communities I represented where the majority did not support what was being demanded of us.

I marched through London on a day when 750,000 were there and the march took 2 hours to pass any point and when another 500,000 people demonstrated in every major city and tow in the Country. But the Labour Party supported by the Tories still took us into an illegal and unjustifiable war in Iraq the consequences of which we still face today.

So will 500 people outside the Royal yesterday really have achieved anything? No not really.

  1. They didn’t need to draw attention to the NHS problems because there isn’t a sentient person in England who does not already know about them.
  2. Will it have changed the way the Tory Government is approaching the NHS difficulties. No. They are not avid readers of the ECHO and will be blissfully unaware of the demo at all.
  3. Will it have changed the culture within the NHS which is not always directing money into the areas like public health where the long-term health and cash savings can be made? No sometimes the gestures can ensure the needs are ignored by suggesting that there are simple answers to complex problems.
  4. Will, it change the culture of individuals to encourage us all to eat, drink and exercise properly. Individual responsibility wasn’t even mentioned.

So Labour can protest on. In the meantime Norman Lamb and the Lib Dems are forging a partnership with Labour and Tory MPs and Peers and councillors to look afresh at the funding of the NHS and the culture of the NHS. I am doing my best to assist with this process as are councillors nationally in a variety of ways.

If Labour really loved the NHS and did not see it as a sticking plaster to cover up their own inadequacies they would be asking to take the NHS over locally; they would be trying to find solutions locally and nationally to these complex cultural issues.

Gesture politics like yesterday are very rewarding to the individual but do nothing to change things.

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Parr St Mill, Redrow, Calderstones Park, Project EV. Answers to council questions

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Liverpool Town Hall which hosted the January Council meeting where I asked 7 questions

Here are the answers to the 7 questions I asked at the Council on 18th January.  You can decide for yourself whether or not they were good answers. Perhaps it would be a good tip is to look at what was not answered! In some ways they were the best bit of the council the ‘debates’ were rubbish!

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

Can the Cabinet Member say –

  1. When will the council complete its review of the fire at Parr Street mill?
  2. When will it make public its findings?

Answer

The Planning Authority has reviewed the various reports into the fire at Parr Street Mill. Additional reports had to be requested and these have now been submitted to the Council and reviewed. The Planning Authority are finalising a draft report which makes a number of recommendations and it is expected to be publicly available within the next 2 weeks.

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

Given that I was told at the last council meeting by the Mayoral Lead on Parks that he would be fixing a date for a meeting within a week in relation to the management of Calderstones Park and nothing has happened, will the Cabinet Member please tell me his current thoughts on this issue and tell us all when such a meeting is likely to be held?

Answer

The recent priority for the Cabinet Member has been focussing on addressing the £90m budget management models for some of the city’s key parks remains a key consideration. The Cabinet Member has discussed the issue with the Mayoral Lead for Parks and a meeting of the Calderstones Park stakeholder group will take place in February 2017.

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

In relation to the proposed move by Beechley Riding Stables from Harthill Road, can the Cabinet Member say –

  1. Has a business plan been drawn which includes the capital and revenue costs of the move?
  2. Has the business plan been submitted to the Heritage Lottery and/or other potential funders for support for the capital and revenue costs?
  3. When can we expect a final decision on whether a move is viable?
  4. Will the council support financially and capital or revenue shortfall caused by a move?
  5. When will a planning application be made?
  6. Will the planning application involve the advertising the loss of public open space?

Answer

  1. An initial stage 1 feasibility study has been prepared which the Council are reviewing. The stage 2 feasibility study will involve a business plan.
  2. No application has been made to any external funding body. Delivery of the scheme is not dependant on external funding.
  3. This is expected in Spring 2017
  4. The Council does not expect there to be a shortfall in the required capital to move the facility. As with the current facility the organisation will be responsible for all revenue costs
  5. Once the feasibility study and business plan has been signed off.
  6. If the proposal results in any loss of open space in respect of the new site then it will need to be advertised.
  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

In relation to the proposed move by Calder Kids from Harthill Road, can the Cabinet

Member say –

  1. Has a business plan been drawn which includes the capital and revenue costs of the move?
  2. Has the business plan been submitted to the Heritage Lottery and/or other potential funders for support for the capital and revenue costs?
  3. When can we expect a final decision on whether a move is viable?
  4. Will the council support financially and capital or revenue shortfall caused by a move?
  5. When will a planning application be made?
  6. Will the planning application involve the advertising the loss of public open space?

Answer

1 The business plan for the relocation is still being worked up

2 No application has been made to any external funding body. Delivery of the scheme is not dependant on external funding.

3 This is expected in Spring 2017.

4 The Council does not expect there to be a shortfall in the required capital to move the facility. As with the current facility the organisation will be responsible for all revenue costs

5 It is not anticipated a planning application will be required

6 If the proposal results in any loss of open space in respect of the new site then it will need to be advertised.

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

In relation to the proposed move by Calderstones Model Railway from Harthill Road, can the Cabinet Member say –

  1. Has a business plan been drawn which includes the capital and revenue costs of the move?
  2. Has the business plan been submitted to the Heritage Lottery and/or other potential funders for support for the capital and revenue costs?
  3. When can we expect a final decision on whether a move is viable?
  4. Will the council support financially and capital or revenue shortfall caused by a move?
  5. When will a planning application be made?
  6. Will the planning application involve the advertising the loss of public open space?

Answer

1 The business plan for the relocation is still being worked up

2 No application has been made to any external funding body. Delivery of the scheme is not dependant on external funding.

3 This is expected in Spring 2017.

4 The Council does not expect there to be a shortfall in the required capital to move the facility. As with the current facility the organisation will be responsible for all revenue costs.

5 A planning application was submitted on 6 January 2017.

6 If the proposal results in any loss of open space in respect of the new site then it will need to be advertised.

6, Question to the Mayor of Liverpool

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

Redrow Homes and the Strategic Partnership with the City Council:

Is the Mayor aware that Redrow threatened the council with none determination if it did not deal with the Allerton Priory application before Christmas?

Is he aware that Redrow did not turn up to the Planning Committee?

Is he further aware that Redrow have already said that they will take the decision to appeal?

Does he think that these are the actions of a partner?

Does he think that the Strategic Housing Partnership with Redrow still exists?

Answer

No the Mayor is not aware that Redrow threatened the Council with none determination if it did not deal with Allerton Priory before Christmas.

No, the Mayor is not aware that Redrow did not turn up to Planning Committee.

No, the Mayor is not aware that Redrow stated they will take the decision to appeal.

The Mayor is now aware that an appeal against the decision has been submitted by Redrow.

The questions about the actions of a partner is irrelevant as the Allerton Priory application does not form part of the Strategic Housing Delivery Programme (SHDP).

It has been submitted by a separate Redrow office and is outside the Partnership programme.

The Council remains committed to the SHDP and it will continue to work in partnership with its partners; Redrow and LMH, to deliver much needed housing in the City.

7, Question to the Mayor of Liverpool

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

ProjectEV and Rejuvenate Your Business Ltd

  1. Did the Council make any investment of council taxpayer’s money into either ProjectEV or Rejuvenate Your Business Ltd?
  2. Which councillor was made responsible for delivery of the project?
  3. Which officer was made responsible for the project?
  4. Was any background check done on Mr Qureshi, the Director of the Company?
  5. What outputs did the Council expect to get from supporting a £2.4 million grant to this operation?
  6. What outputs did it get from supporting this operation?
  7. When did the council realise that there was a problem with the operation?
  8. Of the £2.4 million grant which the Council acted as accountable body was all of it paid over?
  9. If not how much was paid?
  10. Does the council have any outstanding liability to the EU as a result of being the accountable body?
  11. What assistance did the council give to the operation in addition to being accountable body and recommending the grant?
  12. Did the council refer any businesses to the project?
  13. Did the Council in anyway publicly support or help market the project?
  14. From where has the Council found the £32,000 which it has directly lost in support for this venture?

Answer

In 2014 Liverpool City Council agreed to take on the role of accountable body for the

ERDF funded New Markets programme. This was a City Region wide programme established by the Liverpool LEP and involved a range of partner organisations chosen by the LEP in order to deliver support to high growth businesses. In total this was a £15million programme with £7.5million funded via ERDF and the remainder of the monies provided as match by the various applicants. The scheme was established in order to deliver business assists to high growth businesses. There was no Liverpool City Council match funding provided to the programme.

Project EV was one element of this wider programme. The decision to include Project EV within the wider programme was made by Liverpool LEP. The role of the Council was to ensure that applicants’ proposals and subsequent expenditure met with EU rules and requirements. The Programmes Team within the City Council’s Regeneration Directorate checked the proposals made by all partner bodies to ensure they met EU funding rules and checked all subsequent grant claims to ensure compliance with those rules. All other due diligence was the responsibility of Liverpool LEP.

The decision to accept accountable body status for the programme was made by theCity Council’s Cabinet on 28/02/2014 in a report of the Cabinet Member forRegeneration.

The final decision on the approval of the New Markets Programme and all of its constituent parts was made by the Department for Communities and Local Government as the ultimate grant giver. The Department for Communities and Local Government carried out their own due diligence and appraisal on the bid that was submitted including the proposals made by Project EV.

The role of Project EV was to deliver a high growth incubator for the City

Region. This project was intended to deliver 80 new jobs and was entitled to claim a maximum of £500,000 ERDF between October 2013 and December 2015.

The Council had no role in referring businesses to Project EV and did not provide any direct support to the project other than ensuring that any claims it submitted and any delivery undertaken met with EU grant rules. The responsibility for delivery of the project, including attracting businesses, lay with the staff and directors of Rejuvenate Your Business. The Council had no role, responsibility or remit regarding the wider business dealings of Rejuvenate Your Business. The Mayor’s and the Cabinet

Member’s public support was generic in nature and aimed at the concept of the project.

In total Project EV only claimed £32,902.64 ERDF before the Council suspended the scheme given our concerns about Rejuvenate Your Business’ ability to deliver the project successfully. This decision was made in June 2014. Subsequent to our suspension of grant payments, the business was placed into administration by its directors.

As a precautionary measure, the City Council lodged a claim against the business with the administrators for the sum of £32,902.64 in order to protect against any future clawback of ERDF grant. Grant claims made as part of the New Markets programme (including Project EV) will remain subject to audit and clawback until 2025.

In total the New Markets programme claimed £5.3m ERDF and supported the creation of 454 new jobs across the City region.

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Massacre Survivor visits Liverpool to launch World Merit New Office

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Ziauddin Yousafzi offically cuts the ribbon at the new World Merit offices accompanied by Marlou Hermsen its General Manager and Chris Arnold its Chief Executive

Yesterday I was privileged to attend the opening of the new World Merit organisation in Liverpool. Until recently I had not heard of World Merit. This is an organisation that is a major partner of the United Nations involving young people in all the 180+ Countries in the UNmin action within their communities to further the 17 Strategic Development Goals of the UN. They now have national chapters working in 80+ countries.

These goals are thought of by many as being only applicable to developing countries but most of them relating to topics as diverse as gender equality and basic education; access to health care and decent environments are applicable in differing degrees in every country.

The two speakers exemplified the work being done by World Merit and both pledged to help the organisation expand.

ahmad-nawaz

Ahmad Nawaz was one of the few young people to survive the Peshawar School massacre 3 years ago. He was accompanied by Ziauddin Yousafzi who is the father of Malala Yousafzi who shot to world prominence when the Taliban shot her down on the way to school.

Ahmad spoke movingly about his feelings as he escaped from the carnage which had caught up so many of his friends and ended their lives. “I was determined to dedicate my life to ensuring that this would not happen again”, he said. We must not let prejudice win and the only way we can do that is to improve levels of education throughout the world.

The education theme was echoed by Ziauddin Yousafzi who, having run his own schools in Pakistan, is now seeking to raise educational standards especially for young women. “My daughter established a blog when she was just 10”, he said, “for that she was targeted by the Taliban who tried to take the life of a young girl just starting out on her life. We hope that the work being done by my daughter and Ahmad Nawaz will help change things and beat down prejudices worldwide.

That is why we have come here today to support the excellent work being done by World Merit as they work globally in both developed and developing countries, with ambitions based on working in all of them to a much greater degree, to involve young people not only in educational projects but a wide range of community activity in support of the UN”

Chris Arnold, the founder and Chief Executive of World Merit also spoke and said, “we have been honoured to hear today the stories of a young man and a young woman who have survived tragedy and come through them to campaign to change the world and defeat prejudice. They will be fully backed by World Merit and we will be announcing shortly our plans to expand work in Liverpool and the UK alongside an initiative to work with local government leaders globally. It is appropriate that our City, which is the ‘World in One City’ should be the base for this global movement of young people”.

I have said that I want to help World Merit using my global contacts through United Cities and Local Government. I think we should be proud that such an organisation has developed her in Liverpool, “the World in One City”. It is an obvious place to start things off. Although the organisation does not do much with the UK at present they will be announcing over the next three to four months a major initiative in Liverpool linked to an increased presence in the UK.

IF you would like to know more contact Chris Arnold can be contacted on 07740 612728 or e-mail him at Chris@worldmerit.org

 

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Should GP practices be open 7 days a week?

rcgp-logoWe should support the RCGP and GPs generally not ask them to do the impossible with stretched budgets and too few staff

We are asking a hell of a lot from our GPs at the moment. We want them to be in the community; available at residential and care homes; participating in A & E departments; making home visits; oh and by the way being available in 8 minute snatches to deal with the needs of the ill in their practices.

Could all this be achieved? Yes I suppose it could but not with the number of GPs we have at present. Calls for 7 day services don’t really understand the nature of a GPs work. It is very much a part of the Me, Me, Me society. I have a need now and it must be met now. But GPs are not hairdresser of bar keepers. They are skilled professionals who work in a number of environments and crucially there just are not enough of them.

We must also recognise that in the near future there will be a lot less of them. In some places up to 25% of the GPs are nearing retirement age. Our surgeries have been buoyed by a large number of immigrants from the Commonwealth and other places who are now reaching retirement age. They are often in single GP practices and there is no-one to replace them. We are desperately short of people who commit to becoming GPs after their training. It’s much more trendy to work in a deep specialism in a hospital than be out on the front line of work meeting people in their own community. For decades this has been the case and successive governments for those same years have failed to tackle this problem.

Now I do not for a moment believe that GPs practices should be the same as they were when Dr Finlay (or I) were lads. The work has become increasingly complex and demanding. GPs face the same problems as everyone else in the NHS. More people living longer but increasingly become more frail with greater health needs and demands.

Yes there is the demand for time and attention in surgeries and the need in many cases for regular home visits. But that is only part of a GPs work.

The Government want GPs to work in A & E units. That makes sense. Taking part in the triage process deciding who needs a quick fix or nothing at all and getting them out again enables the A & E staff to look after people with acute A & E needs.

We need GPs to spend more time in residential and extra care homes. 25 years ago about 12% of people in such accommodation had more than the occasional need for detailed medical services now it’s up to 80% of their residents. Having regular GP visits keeps people fitter, healthier and leads to less demand on A and E services and hospital beds at weekends and holidays.

We also want GPs active in their communities when we can involve them in campaigns like Dementia Friendly Neighbourhoods and Health Eating Campaigns. Having the Doctor there really makers people take things more seriously.

But to come back to my point we just do not have enough of them to do all these things. If we accepted that there is a need to increase the number of GPs now it will still take 7 years to turn them out in sufficient numbers and that is on the assumption that Brexit will not stop some doctors coming here to become GPs or take part in other parts of the NHS.

So what can we do to help GPs who will tell you that often they do not have time to talk to people with severe health needs as their appointments are clogged up with people looking for reassurance and low level services and not the services that we actually pay GPs to provide.

Most importantly we must use other front line services more effectively as part of a local network in which GPs play a major part. Too often the front line nature of opticians, dentists and pharmacists are overlooked. Far more routine work could be done inside pharmacies most of which are now equipped with consulting rooms. The clinical work of pharmacists, dentists and opticians in recognising specific complaints and getting people appropriately into the system is underused.

Secondly we ought to be moving more services out of hospitals into GP surgeries. There are a huge range of preventive and early reactive activities that could best be undertaken with the local community. In rural areas in particular people travel miles sometimes by rare buses to get services that could easily be provided locally.

To achieve these two changes we need to do two things:

Firstly, we need to change the mind set of both people and parts of the health community to understand that hospitals and particularly A & E departments should be seen not as the first port of call but as the last resort.

Secondly, we need to help GPs modernise their part of the health estate to ensure that they can act as what are in other countries called poly-clinics. Some practices are in the right buildings in the right place. Others are not.

Whenever I have spoken to GPs and their representatives at either a local or national level I have found that the vast majority of them are open to new ideas, a new way and the sort of enhanced role I have described here. When they say they are not prepared to open 7 days a week it is not, in my opinion because of a luddite tendency but because they want to do the right thing in the right way within the resource package that is available to the, forcing them into 7 day opening will massively reduce the other things that they do. This will have a resulting bad impact on illness, both mental and physical and hospital pressures.

If Theresa May wants changes and wants to improve things for people and GPs she needs to listen to them; work with them and not practice gun boat diplomacy from the wrong end of a loud hailer.

 

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What’s going on with the Police investigations into Liverpool Direct and One Connect Lancashire?

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For almost two years the functions of LDL have been subsumed into the oeprations of the Council

It is now three years since the Police opened up a major investigation into the running of Liverpool Direct Ltd and One Connect Lancashire. So Cllr Bill Winlow, the Leader of the Lib Dems on Lancashire County and I are asking Lancashire’s Police Commissioner to update the people of Lancashire and Liverpool on the current status of the case and when prosecutions might be expected.

We know that at one time last year there were 20 staff engaged on this investigation which was costing about £850,000 per year. We do need to know the complete costs for this and what progress is being made.

After three years we should be getting some idea of the progress being made on this case. We appreciate that it involves two of the largest councils in the Country and a major multi-national company but we believe that the facts must be brought both before the courts and the taxpayers of Lancashire and Liverpool as soon as possible

Cllr Bill Winlow can be contacted on 07977 504712

Cllr Richard Kemp can be contacted on 07885 626913

Below are the questions we are asking of the Police Commissioner for Lancashire

Extract from the letter to the Police Commissioner

Whilst we do not want to know any information which might prejudice any police action we would like to know:

  1. Is the investigation still ongoing?
  2. How many police and/or other staff are currently working on it?
  3. At is peak how many police/other staff were working on it?
  4. What the investigation has cost to date?
  5. If any matters have been passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions?
  6. Whether any further matters are intended to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions
  7. When it is anticipated that court cases might arise from this investigation?
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