Healthwatch Sutton diary date, for those who can make it...
Healthwatch Sutton is holding a semi-public meeting about the Epsom-St Helier Hospital Estates Review. We say "semi-public" because people who want to attend cannot simply turn up on the day. Instead, they must RSVP in advance.
We are not sure how many people will be able to attend this meeting as it is scheduled for Tuesday, 22 September, from 2pm until 4pm. This makes it pretty much impossible for anyone with a day job to attend or people with childcare commitments. As such, Healthwatch Sutton surely cannot expect a representative cross-section of the community to attend?
On Twitter, we have asked Healthwatch Sutton if they would consider changing the timing of this meeting. If we receive a response, we will update this blog accordingly.
The Estates Review is important as it could well set our local hospitals on a path of downgrading or closure. Click here to read more about our concerns.
For those who are free from 2pm-4pm on 22 November, you will need to email email@example.com or call call 020 8641 9540 to reserve your place.
We have struggled to get Clinical Commissioning Groups to hold meetings at sensible times. Now it seems that Healthwatch Sutton is following suit.
Could it be that Healthwatch Sutton is afraid of audience members asking challenging questions? KOSHH campaigners were involved in a farcical situation in July last year when a Healthwatch meeting about local health services descended into chaos and was called to an end half an hour before the advertised end time. The meeting organisers tried to enforce a situation where they would only take pre-approved questions in advance.
After the pre-approved and largely uncontroversial questions were answered, there was plenty of time left so the chair reluctantly agreed to questions from the floor. The meeting was called to an abrupt halt after Dr Phillip Howard embarrassed the panel with statistics about the trust's excellent A&E performance.
On top of this, it was a very Liberal Democrat-heavy panel and RSVPs and questions-in-advance had to be sent through the office of Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington. Healthwatch Sutton is meant to be non-political. We complained to the Charities Commission about this but, absurdly, got a response saying there was no problem with the event being administered this way. Nobody from the Charities Commission bothered to get in touch with KOSHH for more information.
In short, we are frustrated that not only are we having to beg CCGs to hold meetings in the evening so more people can attend but now Healthwatch Sutton is following suit.
If you can attend the Healthwatch Sutton meeting on 22 September, please feel free to comment at the end of this blog post about what happened.
Image by Linnaea Mallette