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To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting
Cllr Allen noted that the previous minutes were not available on mod.gov. Cllr Maddern referred to the email sent on 16th January 2023 stating that the minutes had been published and could be viewed via the link provided.
The Chair advised that as the minutes had not been read before the meeting that members should therefore review the minutes before proceeding.
Cllr Guest noted item 6 on ward issues and a typo in the third paragraph, stating that this should read 'Gadebridge' not 'Gatebridge'.
The minutes of the previous meeting were formally approved as an accurate record, subject to the agreed amendment.
Cllr Maddern queried the actions. The Chair suggested that these were primarily related to contacting people regarding talking to the group.
On the action for JWebb to circulate the presentation from Jim McManus and for JWebb to contact DBC housing department. JWebb confirmed that she had forwarded on the information provided by N Beresford regarding discharging to hotels to the chair. On the circulation of J McManus' presentation, JWebb also confirmed that she has emailed him and is yet to hear back.
On the action point regarding the closure of surgeries, Cllr Guest confirmed that this would be covered under item 5.
E Glatter asked for an update on the action regarding the vision and future of Hemel Hospital. The Chair advised that this would be discussed under item 10.
Cllr Beauchamp noted the action regarding HCC Health Scrutiny meeting, noting that he did not receive the minutes until earlier that evening and that he had now circulated these. Cllr Beauchamp confirmed that he sent out the two reports from the agenda of the last meeting regarding the update on the development of the West Herts and Essex ICP and ICS, and the Integrated Hospital Discharging arrangements.
To correct spelling of Gadebridge under item 6 of the minutes.
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies were noted from Cllr Sinha.
Apologies were also noted from Matt Webb, the contact for the Herts Valley CCG, and that he had questioned his attendance. It was noted that this would be discussed later in the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest
A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered -
(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent
and, if the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest, or a personal interest which is also prejudicial
(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.
A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests, or is not the subject of a pending notification, must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.
Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members
[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]
No conflicts of interest were declared.
An opportunity for members of the public to make statements or ask questions in accordance with the rules as to public participation
No public participation was declared.
Cllr Guest provided the update on Parkwood Surgery, noting that she had asked about the closure of the Gadebridge and Boxmoor branch surgeries. Cllr Guest stated that the receptionist had advised her to look on the website for further information and that the website doesn't specify how long the surgeries will be closed for. Cllr Guest confirmed that she wrote to the Practice Business Manager, Ms Badu, at the beginning of February and that she is yet to receive a reply. Cllr Guest confirmed that she will therefore be calling the surgery as the local ward councillor and county councillor to request a meeting. Cllr Guest stated that she was disappointed to not receive a reply to her letter so far.
Cllr Allen commented that he was contacted by a resident who lives next door to the Boxmoor practice and that she had spoken to gentlemen who were stood outside of the practice where she found out that they were estate agents who were overseeing the sale of the property. Cllr Allen suggested that the notion that the closure is temporary is therefore ill-founded and is therefore an urgent matter. Cllr Allen added that he has also received information from another neighbouring resident who has stated when the development was built, a covenant was put on the building that it had to be used for health purposes. Cllr Allen suggested that further investigations are required to understand Parkwood's intentions and if the covenant will be honoured or bought out if there is one in place. Cllr Allen stated that they also need to understand why this decision was made without any consultation or discussions with the community.
Cllr Maddern raised issues regarding Gade Tower, noting that she has now visited 7-8 flats out of 40, and that each one she has visited have children with recurring respiratory problems and are having to take time off school due to being unwell as a result of the building being so damp. Cllr Maddern confirmed that she is talking to the new Chief Housing Officer about this.
Cllr Hollinghurst commented on the seriousness of the closures of Boxmoor and Gadebridge branch surgeries, noting that this will reduce NHS access. Cllr Hollinghurst suggested that the practice may own the property and recommended that the issue be raised by the Committee with the HCC Health Scrutiny Committee to investigate whether a consultation should have taken place. Cllr Beauchamp confirmed that he would raise this at the next HCC Health Scrutiny meeting.
Cllr Guest referred to the issues raised by Cllr Maddern regarding Gade Tower, noting the impact that these have on people's health.
The Chair noted that the next HCC Health Scrutiny meeting would be taking place in a week's time and that they will look to phase DBC meetings to be more in line with HCC in the New Year.
Cllr Hollinghurst suggested that scrutiny officers could also raise the issue independently of the HCC meeting schedule. Cllr Beauchamp noted the current issues with ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
County Council Health Scrutiny Committee Report
Cllr Beauchamp will circulate information when available.
Cllr Guest took the report as read. No questions were raised.
The Chair noted the need to pursue the issues raised during the meeting. The Chair commented that there are matters that need to be dealt with that may not be directly linked to West Herts Hospital Trust and that they need to consider how, going forward, they receive information from other bodies.
Cllr Guest commented that today's meeting had highlighted that there are other issues away from West Herts Hospital Trust and Herts Valley CCG and that these items can be addressed in other ways away from the Committee. Cllr Guest noted that items can be raised at the HCC Health Scrutiny Committee and that all members can raise issues with the relevant portfolio holder. Cllr Guest commented on the officer time that is taken up with scrutiny, which also comes at a cost, and suggested that a message could be sent to DBC members regarding how issues not related to West Herts Hospital Trust or Herts Valley CCG can be raised.
Cllr Guest noted that West Herts Hospital Trust and Herts Valley CCG representatives were not in attendance and asked if the Committee had outlived its usefulness given that the relevant people that they wish to scrutinise had not attended.
The Chair referred to the approach that the Committee had agreed upon regarding the branch surgery closures and queried how this would have been reached without the Committee, adding that Cllr Maddern formally reporting the damp issues in Gade Tower ensured that this was noted and will be reported back on.
Cllr Hollinghurst noted the importance of the Health Scrutiny Committee and advised that they need to acknowledge that it doesn't have any statutory powers. Cllr Hollinghurst commented that there is a willingness for public health professionals to liaise in a formal manner with the borough, adding that the Committee remains a formal channel of communication and continues to be valuable.
Cllr Maddern agreed with Cllr Hollinghurst's comments, noting the importance of continuing with the Committee and the need to explore other areas within health, such as pharmacies and dentists.
E Glatter suggested that closing the Committee would be detrimental and that they need to continue to have a presence. E Glatter noted the importance of having a strong voice and suggested that this can be provided by the Committee, adding that they need to be clear with representatives what the Committee requires of them.
The Chair commented that the Committee has no statutory rights and suggested that it can only note issues. E Glatter stated that they can lobby and raise issues to HCC. The Chair suggested that they will need to consider a way forward for issues such as West Herts Hospital Trust. The Chair referred to Cllr Guest's comment regarding the use of resources to run Committee meetings, stating that they appear to have now gone backwards as no representatives are speaking to them, though it remains a Committee to bring issues to and formalise them. E Glatter commented that there are a number of other ... view the full minutes text for item 27.