News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Devon Acute Services Review Launched
Yesterday the latest version of the wider Devon Sustainability and Transformation Plan for our NHS was published.
The latest version includes details of a review to be undertaken into several aspects of our local NHS, including elements of acute hospital services, although from my brief reading of it there are no specific proposals detailed, other than work will start on looking at Stroke Services. You can read the documents for yourself by clicking here.
The reviews are led by local clinicians (doctors, nurses and other professionals) and will commence shortly. Work to develop proposals for stroke services first; other service reviews will follow during the next year.
The reviews include several services that are under pressure not due to budget, but an inability to recruit suitably qualified staff. I will be following this work closely and have already spoken to the Chief Executive of Torbay Hospital who is involved in the team doing the review.
Child Protection Services Inquiry
Protecting children at risk of abuse or harm is one of the key statutory duties of local councils, yet at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Monday a series of problems were highlighted.
Kevin Foster helped lead the questioning of senior figures from the Department of Education about figures that show the majority of local areas been deemed as inadequate or requiring improvement in this area. Even the target in relation to OFSTED completing inspections to find out the quality of services acfross the country has now been put back a year till the end of 2017.
As some residents may recall earlier this year Torbay’s Children’s Services were one of the one’s rated as inadequate, a status that applies to 1 in 5 of the councils inspected so far. The Council is working on improvements and regularly discuss the progress being made with the Executive Lead for Children’s Services..
You can watch the hearing on Parliament’s website by clicking here and the report on the inquiry will be published later this year.
Public Meeting on Paignton Hospital
The consultation on plans to close Paignton Hospital is continuing and just a quick reminder that Central Paignton Churches will be holding a public meeting tomorrow (Saturday 5th November) on the proposed closure at 10am.
The venue is Paignton Parish Church and all are welcome to attend. Please come along if you can as a small turnout in this large venue would not send the right message to local NHS bosses.
Police Officer Safety Debate
Everyday Police Officers deal with incidents that can see them put at risk and on Wednesday the House of Commons debated Police Officer Safety.
During the debate Kevin referred to the latest figures from Devon & Cornwall Police that indicated 267 officers had been assaulted in an 11 month period, with a further (unaudited) 26 last month. It is shocking to see the level of attacks on our Police, not least when there is the proud tradition in the UK of Policing by consent not at the point of a gun. A range of factors are involved and it is worth noting that incidents were officers are unintentionally injured in the course of their duties are not included in these numbers.
Kevin spoke in the debate to both highlight the work of the Police, but also to indicate his support for them being able to take measures to protect themselves from attack. These includes a wider issue of Tazers (Electronic stun guns) and the use of spit hoods to prevent officers being spat on by those they are arresting.
You can read what Kevin said by clicking here.
Coeliac Prescriptions Debate
Over recent years a number of Clinical Commissioning Groups, including the one that covers Torbay, have been reducing or removing the prescription of gluten free products to coeliacs.
In the past items such as gluten free bread or biscuits were difficult to get hold of and very expensive. Yet whilst prices have fallen significantly, with gluten free products also becoming more widely available, some staple products such as bread remain two to three times the price of an ordinary loaf.
One issue that has driven the ending of prescriptions for Gluten Free Bread has been the cost of administering it in effect as “a drug” through a Pharmacy. This can mean the NHS paying far more than the cost of the same product in a nearby supermarket.
Having been contacted by a local resident Kevin attended a debate secured by a Labour MP this week and suggested that a compromise option could be issuing vouchers for key gluten free staples. This means they could be collected from a supermarket or local shop, rather than issued via a pharmacy. You can read what he said and the minister’s response by clicking here.
Council Budget Consultation Launched
Earlier today Torbay Council launched a consultation on its draft Budget proposals for 2017\18.
Service changes, increased income and efficiencies totalling £6 million are being proposed for 2017/18. Despite this, Torbay Council still spends approximately £3.2m per week on services in the community (excluding funding for schools and housing benefit payments), and also plans to spend more than £40m on capital schemes. A 4% increase in Council Tax is also proposed,
Interestingly the Budget for Children’s Services is set to increase with Elected Mayor Gordon Oliver proposing a further £2.1 million to support the service taking the total budget to £41.65 million, of which £29.36 million is income for example in grants. In October the council was looking after 282 children and had 157 youngsters subject to Children Protection Plans.
A summary of the draft budget proposals for 2017/18 can be found on the Council’s website by clicking here.
A six week consultation on the proposals will commence on Monday 7th November with final decisions taken by the Council in February.
New Linac Radiotherapy equipment for Devon and Torbay
On Thursday, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust were designated as the first hospitals eligible to receive new, state of the art, linear accelerators (LINACs) over the coming year, under the recently announced £130m NHS England investment to upgrade radiotherapy equipment.
Recent advances in radiotherapy have helped target radiation doses at cancer cells more precisely. As a result, they enable better outcomes, with improved quality of life for patients and reduced NHS costs in the long term, through patients experiencing fewer side effects.
UK’s Best Park Awards
Babbacombe Downs, Clennon Valley and Victoria Park have all been nominated in the Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park Awards.
Fields in Trust was established in 1925 by King George V as the National Playing Fields Association, and currently safeguards over 2,600 sites, including playgrounds, playing fields, and formal and informal parkland across 30,000 acres of the UK.
Voting is currently open to the public and closes at 5pm on Wednesday 9th November. A list of all of the entrants in the South West can be found here.
AVIVA Community Fund Awards
AVIVA has also launched its Community Fund Awards, a fund which awards grants of up to £25,000 for local community projects across a range of subjects such as supporting the elderly, health & wellbeing and community sport.
Like the above awards, winners are chosen by the public, and I would highly recommend that you quickly visit the site and choose your favourite project.
Voting closes on 18th November, with winners to be announced in January. To vote, please click here, register and search for your favourite projects either by keyword or by postcode. Everyone that registers receives 10 votes, which can be used all on one project or split across multiple projects.
Paignton Armed Robber Gets Sentence Increased
A criminal who carried out a series of terrifying raids, including one on Paignton’s Beefeater Restaurant, will now be spending a longer period behind bars after the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC MP, stepped in.
The armed robber was originally jailed for 9 years and 9 months in August at Exeter Crown Court, but the Attorney General appealed this sentence as he believed it was unduly lenient. Judges at the Court of Appeal agreed and this week increased his sentence to 13 years and 3 months. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
The robberies saw local people going about their work terrified by threats of serious violence because one man had a grudge. He will now have some extra years in prison to reflect the seriousness of his crimes.
Torquay United Update
Over the last year there has been continued speculation about the future of The Gulls and their Plainmoor Home.
A Fans Forum was held this week and if, like me, you could not get along due to work or other commitments you can catch up via the club’s website as they have posted a video of the Forum. Chairman Dave Philips gives a good summary of the current position at the start of the meeting, before he and others answer questions from Fans.
Just click here to be taken to the video.
Great Big Rhinos Raise A Load of Cash
The colourful Rhinos that were spotted across the bay over summer went under the hammer last night, with a Great Big Sum of cash raised for Rhino Conservation.
In total £123,000 was raised in the auction to help preserve the real Rhinos the colourful statues were based on. The star lot being “Hulk Rhino” who sold for a whopping £13,500!!!
It is great to see this scheme that was a lot of fun produce so much money for a serious cause. Some species of Rhino are so endangered that the Riviera Centre could accommodate more for the auction than still exist of them in the wild.
On a lighter note even if you did not manage to buy a Rhino last night you can still see Paignton Zoo’s real life ones in a video they produced last weekend. The video shows one of their residents having fun with a pumpkin and you can enjoy it yourself by clicking here.
Saturday 5th November – Sherwell Valley Primary School, Hawkins Avenue, Torquay, TQ2 6ES
Time – Doors open at 3pm, display expected around 7.15pm.
Cost – Family tickets £10 in advance, £12 at the gate (2+3); adults £4, children £3; under 3s go free
Saturday 5th November – Watcombe Primary School; Moor Lane, Torquay, TQ2 8NU
Time – Doors open at 3pm, display expected around 7.15pm.
Cost – Family tickets £10 (2+3); adults £4, children £3; under 3s go free
Please click here for a list of all fireworks displays within driving distance of the Bay.
Engage Torbay (Hillsong) Network Church Building Opening
Saturday 5th November – Engage Torbay (Hillsong) Network Church, 8A Lower Union Lane, TQ2 5PN
Time – 2pm
Cost – Free to attend; cream tea and refreshments on sale
For more information click here.
Monday 7th November – Artizan Gallery, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, TQ2 5UW
Time – Doors open at 7pm, 7.30pm start
Cost – £4 in adv, £5 on door, £2 performers.
For more information please click here.
Salute to Heroes Concert
Friday 11th November – Central Church, Tor Hill Road, Torquay, TQ2 5RN
Time – 7.30pm
Cost – £5
Concert to commemorate the Battle of the Somme, in aid of the SSAFA.