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Caswill questions health whitewash

November 1, 2021 3:40 PM

The scrutiny process at Wiltshire Council consists of lots of nice people patting each other on the back and saying how wonderful everything is.

A questioner to tomorrow's Health Scrutiny Committee has asked why there is no reference in the committee agenda to the many crises currently hitting the NHS.

Chris Caswill states: "The only item on this Health Select Agenda which even begins to address the currently very serious health delivery issues for the people of Wiltshire is the one titled: South Western Ambulance Service Trust - Engagement with the Health Select Committee - where the possibility is floated of a discussion of the ambulance service's performance levels. In the meantime, in the real world, Wiltshire's COVID levels have increasing dramatically, to the point where the County is reported to have the worst figures in the country. This in turn must be putting further strain on Accident and Emergency services and staff, at a time when A&E Departments are said by many reliable sources to be at breaking point. Hospitals are reporting many Never events and many are at the highest levels of alert. Hospital waiting lists are now at record levels, and even cancer services are being delayed. At the same time, there is growing public and Government concern about access to GPs and GPs are threatening to go on strike."

His question is - "Why has this storm of issues passed this committee by? Why do almost none of them appear on your agenda for scrutiny, nor even on your Forward Work Programme? How is this compatible with your remit which includes the remit to "review and scrutinise any matter relating to the planning, provision and operation of health services in Wiltshire" ? Could it be that you are ideologically accepting the Government's unevidenced claims that there are no crises in the health services, rather than doing your job of evidenced scrutiny on behalf of the people of Wiltshire?"