Report 27th January 2015

Branch Political Officers Report for Branch Committee Meeting 27th January 2015

General Election

We are now into double figures 99 days until the General Election, the CWU in the Eastern Region are now in the process of meeting all of the Labour Party Candidates, to discuss their financial needs.

Each candidate has been asked to submit a bid to us and the Regional Secretary, Regional Political Treasurer and I as Regional Political Chair are meeting them to discuss their bid.

Still The Enemy Within

As circulated by email to the branch committee on 21st January, posters have been displayed on all notice boards within the mail centre, Peterborough South DO and Cash Handling.

I have 20 tickets to sell so if you require tickets please let me know.

Peterborough City Council Boundary Changes   

Following a 12 week public consultation the Boundary Commission has decided to increase the amount of  councillors in the City from 57 to 60 and to increase the amount of wards from 14 to 18. Parliament will implement recommendations made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England which will come in for 2016 when all councillors will be standing for election.

Instead, there will be a two-member Glinton & Castor Ward to include the parishes of Ailsworth, Castor, Marholm, Etton, Glinton, Peakirk, Northborough, Deeping Gate and Maxey.

 The changes

Instead, there will be a two-member Glinton & Castor Ward to include the parishes of Ailsworth, Castor, Marholm, Etton, Glinton, Peakirk, Northborough, Deeping Gate and Maxey.

The changes will see the two-member Glinton and Wittering Ward being broken up.

the recommendations also put forward a single-member Wittering Ward which includes the parishes of Wittering, Thornhaugh, Wansford, Sutton and Upton.

The current Glinton and Wittering councillors are John Holdich, deputy leader and cabinet member for education, skills and university, and Diane Lamb, cabinet advisor for health.

West Ward, which currently has three councillors, will incorporate Longthorpe and South Bretton but will become a two-member ward.

Bretton South, which disappears as a ward, is currently represented only by independent councillor Michael Fletcher.

Bretton North will now become Bretton.

Three-member ward Werrington South will become part of the new Gunthorpe Ward.

Werrington North, meanwhile, will stay with three members and become Werrington.

Walton, which currently has two councillors, will join with three-member ward Paston to become Paston & Walton which will have three councillors overall.

Stanground Central, which is the ward of council leader Councillor Marco Cereste, and Stanground East will both be removed with a new Fletton & Stanground Ward and Stanground South Ward introduced.

Eye & Thorney and Newborough – which combined had three councillors – will come together to become a three-member Eye, Thorney & Newborough Ward.

New three-member wards are also being introduced at Hampton Vale and Hargate & Hempsted.

North Ward and Ravensthorpe Ward will both go from having two councillors to three.

Central, Dogsthorpe, Fletton & Woodston, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Orton with Hampton and Park wards will all remain as three-member wards.

Barnack stays as a one-member ward. Its current councillor is the mayor, Cllr David Over.

These changes will cost the Council £7,962 per new councillor per year

Labour, Independents and the Lib Dems are all against the changes only the Conservatives feel that the changes are needed.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital

The Coalition Government privatised Hinchingbrooke Hospital some two years ago now I joined protesters on many occasions in Huntingdon handing out leaflets and collecting signatures on petitions, but they went ahead and handed the contract to run the Hospital to Circle, in the last month Circle has announced that it is pulling out of its contract. Once again the future of Hinchingbrooke is in the air below is a statement from the Hands of Hinchingbrooke Campaign.

It is vital that this hospital or any hospital does not fall into the hands of privateers


Despite the departure of Circle the campaign continues as we fight for Hinchingbrooke to be returned to the NHS and for no further privatisation experiments with our hospital

The news comes as no surprise to those of us that have long campaigned against the Circle takeover and called for them to be ‘sacked’ as they lurched from one disaster to another. This shows that when the going gets tough, the private sector just cut their losses and walk away leaving the already strained public sector to pick up their mess. It gives us no great pleasure in saying that we warned that this would happen from the start, but the Hinchingbrooke experiment should be held up as a stark warning of the dangers of NHS privatisation.

Circle have timed their departure ahead of an eagerly awaited CQC report, which is expected to be highly damning of their running of the hospital, in particular relating to patient care, staffing issues, hygiene, financial instability and failure to listen to staff concerns.

The Cambs and Peterborough CCG have been questioned over the future viability of the hospital for the last few months and in particular when news broke that Circle were only £150,000 short of the £5 million ceiling that could see the contract terminated. The closure of Accident and Emergency was rumoured to be being actively discussed and there were major concerns of their ability to cope with the extra pressure during the busy winter period. Despite this, assurances were given before Christmas that at that stage Circle had no plans to terminate.

In light of developments we have called an emergency public meeting in Huntingdon on Wednesday 14th Jan, 7pm, Huntingdon Methodist Church.

The deal was initially forced through amid great secrecy and questions were not answered under the cloak of corporate confidentiality. It soon became apparent why. Circle’s projected figures were wildly optimistic and we feared that this

would place jobs and services. We warned at the time that Circle’s claim that they could make £311 million of savings over 10 years was unsustainable. The National Audit Office agreed and their report in late 2012 warned that they hadn’t factored in the risks properly and expressed concern over the level of savings that they had projected

Further instability at the hospital was evident with the resignation of two key figures. First to go was Circle supremo Ali Parsa, who had been parading around national media outlets citing the Circle model as the way forward for the NHS across the country. However merely 6 months in to the 10 year franchise deal he walked away.

Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said of his departure:

‘Somebody sacked you Mr Parsa to walk away with a £400,000 pay-off, most of which comes from the taxpayer’

Second to go was Chief Executive of the hospital Chief Executive Jim O’Connell. He took early retirement at the age of 50, 9 months into the deal. Staff were angry about this as they had just seen their pension age rise due to reforms to the NHS pension scheme.

There have been cuts to staff with a renegotiation of the cleaning contract seeing staffing levels reduced to 24 and hours cut for those who remained. Worryingly almost 50 frontline nursing posts were cut and a report by the RCN in May 2014 exposed that on one ward in Hinchingbrooke, one nurse was left to look after 21 patients. In June 2013, an elderly trauma ward was closed to ‘streamline’ and improve services.

The Circle tenure at Hinchingbrooke was always more spin than substance however we must now secure the long-term future of the hospital as one that is NHS run, publicly funded and publicly accountable with no more private sector experiments.

Our NHS is not for sale – we stand for patients not profit

Regional Political Chair

I have held the above position for the last 2 years I would ask if the branch would nominate me again at the Political Committee AGM in February.

Andy Beeby

Branch Political Officer


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