Health Consultation – PCT Probity Questioned

08:35 Monday 6th June 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

: Cllr Marion Todd, earlier on in the show, said certain wards in Peterborough are only offering residents the equivalent health care of a third world country. We spoke to her earlier this morning. She said if the threatened Parnwell Medical Centre itself gets closed, then residents will have to visit Dogsthorpe or Paston to get help from a GP. She said it was unacceptable for some people. Peter Whiteman came on, Interim Director of Primary Care at NHS Peterborough and said that everything was going to be hunky-dory. We were going to get this new lovely health centre for the people of Paston and Dogsthorpe, and it was all going to be fine. Let’s speak to Cllr. John Peach, who’s with us this morning. John Good morning.
JOHN PEACH: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: One of them’s right. Or are they both right? They seem to be polar opposites at the moment. Peter Whiteman’s one side, Marion Todd’s at the other side. They’re way apart. Who’s right John?
JOHN PEACH: Well I think the interesting word is when you have Paul Whiteman on, when you introduced him as the Interim Director. The PCT seems to be in an enormous mess, both financially and the personnel they employ. He’s an Interim Director. They’ve already had two or three of those. They’re already on about their fourth Finance Director in the last eighteen months. You may remember the last Chief Executive resigned some time ago.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. We got her to say sorry before she went.
JOHN PEACH: That’s right. She got to say sorry, which was very nice of course, but left the organisation in a mess. Really, the PCT are in a huge financial hole. They’re grabbing at straws to get their budget in order. But the other important thing to remember is, although they’re now going out to consultation, and like Marion Todd I would urge everybody to go to these consultation meetings, one of which is tonight in Parnwell, in perhaps a year, eighteen months, two years, the PCTs are unlikely to exist at all, and certainly not in their present form. So who’s to say what they are recommending in this consultation will be what the doctors want at the end of the day? So they are proposing something now, going out to consultation. On the face of it that seems fine. But if they’re going to be disbanded, it might not be what the doctors and the other health professionals want at the end of the day.
PAUL STAINTON: So could the whole exercise be a complete waste of money?
JOHN PEACH: Well it could be a complete waste of money. It could be a complete waste of time. It could be inappropriate. Because what the PCT have done, and I’ve found because the Alma Road Walk-In Centre is in my ward, so I’ve been taking a particular interest in that, and we actually got the consultation stopped on that some time ago, because we said well you shouldn’t just be consulting on one doctors’ surgery, which because of their particular contract was the easiest to close, you should be looking at everything in the whole. Now I’m pleased to see that at least to some extent the PCT have taken that up, and they’re now doing this other consultation. But one telling fact is that the PCT came to the City Council ‘s Health Scrutiny Committee three or four months ago, explained why they’d stopped the first consultation, why they were going to do a so-called more comprehensive consultation, which they’re now doing. And they promised to that Health Scrutiny Committee, which was chaired by Cllr Brian Rush, to come back before the consultation started, with the draft, so that we could look at it and give our opinion of it, and see if there was anything in the consultation, and facts in the consultation, which were actually not quite correct. They didn’t do that. They failed to do that, despite them volunteering to do it, and it being minuted at the meeting. So I think there’s some very serious questions to be raised about the probity of the PCT, and what they’re doing. And really at the end of the day, if the consultation is indeed as you suggest a bit of a sham.
PAUL STAINTON: John, thank you for your opinion on the proposals by the PCT for doctors surgeries and dentist surgeries across Peterborough. And as John was saying there, it could actually be turning out to be a complete waste of time and money. Not the best thing to do when you’re skint anyway.