Campaigners against the controversial plans from the Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group have vowed to continue the fight after the County Health Committee approved the plans at a ‘bizarre’ meeting. Since the meeting, Healthwatch, a health and social care champion with statutory powers, has recommended a re-think on the proposals and raised similar concerns about the consultation to those raised by the campaigners.
Speaking after the Health Committee meeting, Kelley Green said: "It was extremely frustrating and rather bizarre that the Health Committee appeared to agree with everything that I and other speakers said about the many flaws in the CCG proposals and in its consultation, yet voted to approve the CCG plans. Like we did, Healthwatch have examined the plans in detail and I welcome their own recommendation to the CCG for a rethink and wholehearted agree with the many concerns that Healthwatch have raised. I am very grateful to the many hundreds of residents who have supported our campaign and, for example, to the City Council who wrote to raise similar concerns about the consultation. We may have been ignored by the members of the County Health Committee but we are determined not to be ignored by the CCG itself and to get the right outcome for this vital service. I also urge other residents to continue the fight with us to save the Out of Hours service at Chesterton"
Councillor Ashley Walsh, Leader of the Labour Group on Cambridgeshire County Council said: "The role of County Committees is to scrutinise and in the case of the Health Committee, to scrutinise this proposal by the CCG on behalf of residents. Frankly, they failed to do their job even though the very serious failures in assessing and communicating this proposal since highlighted by Healthwatch were also very clearly put to them by Kelley along with other residents, Councillor Jocelynne Scutt and other campaigning groups. It is not the job of the committee to slap the CCG's wrists for what is a clear failure to consult properly but agree to the proposals regardless. They should have asked the CCG, as Healthwatch now have, to at the least pause their plans and think again. As Leader of the Labour Group on the County Council I will do everything I can to support this campaign and keep the service in Chesterton."
Councillor Richard Johnson, the City Council’s Executive Councillor for Communities, who chairs the Cambridge Local Health Partnership, said: “On 3 March I wrote to the Chair of the Health Committee to raise concerns from city residents about the consultation and CCG plans for the Out of Hours Service and requesting that the Health committee look into the issues raised. I hope that when the Clinical Commissioning Group meet to decide on the proposals tomorrow, they take on board the very serious concerns raised by residents, councillors and now Healthwatch about the impact of the relocation of this vital service on deprived communities who already suffer from serious health inequalities.”