Friday, March 14, 2008

The understatement of 2008 - so far.

There has been a lot of publicity about the proposed closure of post offices in Mid Wales over the last few days. But this was not the Powys story that shocked me most this week. It was this one. I've not had the chance to work out the implications of it yet - so shocking is it.

The Chair of the Powys Local Health Board, Chris Mann described it yesterday with the words "it was fair and thorough, albeit hard hitting". That was one hell of an understatement. The 'It' was a report by the NHS Clinical Governance Support and Development Unit. And it said that the 10 Community Hospitals in Powys are unable to meet standards of safety. It said that all services should be transferred to other areas as soon as possible in the interests of patient safety. And it said a lot more of the same.

Now two things occur to me. Firstly, is this going to lead to yet another attempt to close down Community Hospitals in Powys? And secondly, how on earth can the Chair of the Board not feel compelled to resign - nothing personal, but I've never seen anything so damning. We knew there was a serious problem when the LHB's Chief Executive resigned last year - and we knew that there had been other major changes at senior management level - but I don't think any of us knew it was as bad as this. We also know that the Powys LHB's budget is spiralling into debt. I really do fear for our hospitals this time.

Its all very well for Health Minister, Edwina Hart to start beating the drum about wanting improvements. Lets not forget that this has happened under the watch of Governments of her party. This story has not received anything like the coverage it warrants. Its a real genuine scandal - which has put people's lives at risk.

19 comments:

mike bevan said...

I think the time will shortly come when Westminster will start taking back powers from Cardiff - and health is likely to be first. Labour at national level can't allow this sort of mess to prejudice their chances at the general election.

Gwyn Davies said...

Put a bunch of amateurs in charge and that's what you get.
It is truly appalling the average ability of an assembly member.
I have read it elsewhere on the blog people giving the opinion that's the average member is no better or more capable than your average councillor.
My wife and I moved from Wales in 1999, and have never looked back.
I good not bear to read the Western Mail any longer!
Having watched a plenary session once in the assembly building I was truly embarrassed to say I was Welsh, the session made me cringe!
Mind you, look at our very own Nick Bourne, man for all seasons, never happier than in the rain!

Glyn Davies said...

mike - Don't agree. Even if health could be 'taken back' as you put it, that would be the same thing as abolishing the Assembly - which opens another debate entirely....

Gwyn - The LHB issues are resposibility of the LHB Board (appointed by the government) - but the Wales NHS structure which Labour's first Health Minister introduced was an over-complex disaster (and we all told her at the time, but she does not have a listening gene) so I suppose reponsibility must also rest on the Government. Difficult for me to comment on the standard of debate in the Chamber, because I was one of these people until last May. But I have commented before about the pathetic nature of the 'motherhood and apple pie' debates where everyone stood up and agreed piously with each other and voted 58-0 in favour. Rhodri Morgan described watching it as like watching paint dry. The standard only rises when there is genuine dispute.

mike bevan said...

"mike - Don't agree. Even if health could be 'taken back' as you put it, that would be the same thing as abolishing the Assembly - which opens another debate entirely...."

Well it obviously can be taken back, because parliament is supreme, so don't see the problem there.

You seem to be suggesting that Westminster should sit idly by and let the mess get worse. A very surprising notion.

Glyn Davies said...

mike - well lets just disagree about what could conceivably happen. All I will say is that if health (or any major responsibility) was 'undevolved' or 'taken back', I would be calling for abolition of the Assembly. There would be absolutely no point at all in it continueng

kenny blewin said...

All I will say is that if health (or any major responsibility) was 'undevolved' or 'taken back', I would be calling for abolition of the Assembly. There would be absolutely no point at all in it continuing.

Absolutely right. But the Assembly is clearly failing. Something has to be done about it. I can't see a man like Paul Murphy sitting around scratching his behind while such a mess goes on. The Assembly can't think it can carrying on screwing up forever and Paul Murphy might just be the man to read the Riot Act to them.

What makes me mad is the constant call for more powers, when they can't cope with the limited powers they have got.

Gavin Strongatharm said...

"Well it obviously can be taken back, because parliament is supreme, so don't see the problem there."
Something the assemble could never aspire to be in Wales.
More to the point the people would not want it to be.
Let's us also hope that no more of the Assembly drop outs get into the Lords for no more than been failures in the Assembly.

Anonymous said...

"What makes me mad is the constant call for more powers, when they can't cope with the limited powers they have got."


So sad, but sums the situation up in a nut shell!

Glyn Davies said...

kenny - I just wish you would direct your fire at the Assembly Government, rather than the Assembly. I believe that the UK Government is making a complete horlicks of things, but I don't say that that the UK Parliament should be abolished - just that the ruling party should be changed.

I don't see the debate about the future of the Assembly as being about more powers. Its about creating a stable constitution wear there are clear lines of accountability. In my opinion, this involves law making powers in those subject areas that are devolved - something that is currently being created by the ridiculously complex system of Legislative Competence Orders.

gavin - I can think of three AMs or ex AMs who would do a very good job in the House of Lords. On the other hand .......

Kenny Blewin said...

kenny - I just wish you would direct your fire at the Assembly Government, rather than the Assembly. I believe that the UK Government is making a complete horlicks of things, but I don't say that that the UK Parliament should be abolished - just that the ruling party should be changed.


Yes, but Labour or Plaid will always be in the assembly government. And furthermore, if we didn't have an assembly we wouldnt have an assembly Government.

Anonymous said...

Kenny - your absolutely right. The only way we can get some sense back is if we tell the assembly to sort itself out or else find itself dissolved. Put the assembly in the sin bin like Gavin Henson!

Anonymous said...

gavin - I can think of three AMs or ex AMs who would do a very good job in the House of Lords. On the other hand .......


bit like TNS Llansantffraid playing in the San Siro!!!

mike bevan said...

"I don't see the debate about the future of the Assembly as being about more powers. Its about creating a stable constitution wear there are clear lines of accountability."

Yes, but they DO go on about more power all the time, don't they? If they could just accept they are a tier of government just above county councils, it wouldn't be so bad, but they have these delusions of grandeur that really irritate people.

Gavin Strongatharm said...

"gavin - I can think of three AMs or ex AMs who would do a very good job in the House of Lords. On the other hand ......."

Your not saying you would end up there are you?
What about all the other far more experienced Conservatives that would be eligible for a nominiation?

Anonymous said...

Gavin you are correct.
Too many political parties reward failure these days.
And no more so than the Assembly.
The Lords needs no further diluting, by one's wanting to hang their hats any where that will have them.

Glyn Davies said...

Cannot get over the negativity on this post. It would depress me if Wales hadn't won.

Kenny - I agree that either Plaid or Labour are likely to be a partner in the next Assembly Government - but I believe and hope that the Conservative Party can become part of a governing coalition, as the largest party - and become the largest party in the Assembly. After that who knows. I receive much criticism for this opinion, but I believe it is our duty to try to influence how Wales is governed.

anons - sorting the Assembly out is a job for the voters. This damn thing called democracy gets in the way.
See no reason why TNS, Llanelli or Rhyl shouldn't play in the San Siro. I think TNS have played at Anfield.

Mike - Now, I have a bit of sympathy with you here. Nothing worse than unjustified self importance - and there's plenty of it. Irritates me too.

Gavin - Its a nice thought, but No. I am having a crack at the House of Commons. I known it may be a bit odd, but I enjoy meeting voters face to face.

anon - the Lords needs people who are able and committed to working for Wales. I do not see why an AM should be ruled out, if they fit the bill. Have you looked at the list of people who have been elevated to the Lords over the last 10 years? Do you know who they are? Are you really trying to tell me that they are more capable than any person who has served in the Assembly?

mike bevan said...

"Kenny - I agree that either Plaid or Labour are likely to be a partner in the next Assembly Government - but I believe and hope that the Conservative Party can become part of a governing coalition, as the largest party - and become the largest party in the Assembly. After that who knows."

Glyn, we can't sit around for years while Wales gets trashed. As you say, the economy is in a huge mess and the health service is a joke. And anyway, my confidence in the Conservatives in the assembly was badly shaken when they wanted to do a deal with Plaid Cymru and the Liberals. I don't trust either of them.

I don't believe they have any idea just how bad things are in Wales. To be honest, you only appear to have woken up to it yourself since you left the assembly.

I really hope you get to parliament, but for God's sake do something about this mess when you do get there. Don't just let it get worse.

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7295532.stm

Glyn Davies said...

Mike - My opinion about the new constitutional arrangements haven't changed since I lost my seayt on the Assembly. I've consistantly taken the view that it is not worthwhile as it stands - which is why I want to see a lot more clarity about responsibilities and accountability for when things go wrong. Even though I hope to become an MP, my great interests would be public services in Wales, and countrtyside policy at all levels of government. Montgomeryshire, and other constituencies next to the border are particularly disadvantaged at present.