MEMBERS' QUESTIONS TO CABINET MEMBERS AND CHAIRPERSONS
To put questions, if any, to Cabinet Members and Committee Chairpersons (or their representatives) under Council Procedure Rules 11(1) and 11(3).
(1) Councillor Fenwick-Green referred to one of the main messages being heard during the pandemic, stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. She asked what measures did the Cabinet Member feel needed to be taken to ensure the NHS was protected, both now and in the future?
Councillor Roche explained he was very proud of the NHS, but needed adjustment with some areas requiring improvement. Throughout the pandemic the NHS had come under excess strain and pressures, such as in the number of patients in areas like critical care where these pressures affected both primary and secondary care. Rotherham could be especially proud of its vaccination roll-out which had already started to show the impacts on the severity of illness. The success was partly due to the fantastic partnerships in Rotherham in the health and care field. The work done by the Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (RCCG), Rotherham Council and NHS had been fantastic and deserved our praise and thanks.
The NHS did need protection and the pandemic had shown this. Before the pandemic there were signs of weakness in the NHS and there were attempts to run it down and make it ripe for privatisation. The potential move to an American health care system would be a disaster. This Council had committed itself to resisting any further privatisation of the NHS.
The NHS could not work on a supermarket just in time model. The lack of availability of PPE in everyday life showed that very clearly the NHS needed the cushion to be ready for divergences, especially in the need of critical care beds to ensure these were available when needed.
It was hard to see how a product company could make a profit in running the NHS without reducing standards or service. Nevertheless, creeping privatisation by stealth was being seen. Only 2 weeks ago a USA company took over a large number of GP surgeries in London making it the biggest provider of GP services in the UK.
Coventry had also seen a takeover with a private healthcare company running its hospitals despite the fact it had been severely criticised. Currently 26% of NHS contracts were private. The NHS should be for people and not for profit, although of course the supply of drugs and equipment would have to be from private companies.
What was of concern was the long-term sustainability and focus needed to be given to workforce issues and pressures. A five-year plan for its nurses had been agreed, with them due to get 2.1% increase that was agreed by the present Tory Government yet only a couple of weeks ago they reduced this to 1%. This was shocking after all the country had been through.
There was a need for more work to support the NHS in preventative services and early intervention and in restoration of elective care following the pandemic. These health inequalities needed support in integrated fashion with CCG's and Councils. The White Paper had some positive and negative elements that ... view the full minutes text for item 483