Last update 7th. July 2006


CPPIH Area Meeting at York, 3rd July 06, Station Hotel


Sally Young, CPPIH, was there as "hostess." Steve Lowden, Leslie Forsyth David Orchard, Richard Brocklehurst etc etc present.

95 Forum members present plus a few FSOs.

1. Steve Lowden

Steve Lowden spoke for 45 minutes. Said little we didn’t already know. Still spoke as if the 'new arrangements' were inevitable, e.g. "think about how to have an impact on the transitional arrangements" "seamless transition", etc.

Says he used to be a senior civil servant writing policy for the Home Office. These 'policies' were clear but by the time the Sec of State had finished with them, his 'bungalow' had become 'high-rise flats.'!!!!

He asserted that the Ministerial announcement would come in the week beginning 19th July. (It had been delayed by the judicial review in the PCT in Derbyshire.) We should be "ready with our comments and contributions." He said the announcement must come before House rises on 25th July.

Much about the demise of CPPIH, too much change, from CHC to Forums, what next.

SL said he had "forcefully" told the Minister that any new system must have time to grow, otherwise it’s not fair on us, the volunteers. His staff, their mortgages etc were victims of change.

Expert panel had met 3 times. Reported end of April to Ministers. Announcement following its work was expected to be comprehensive eg

It should be recognised that from 2006, the NHS has several 'contractors' and IS (Independent Sector) provision, that the voluntary sector will be involved in delivery, that current increases to NHS spend are slowing.

Last 12 months has been financial mayhem.

Issue of how to get ppi into commissioning and buying was one Expert Panel struggled with.

Does 'choice' need 'voice'? Panel said 'yes, more than ever.'

Whole of Expert Panel's (EP) report will eventually be made public.

Press speculation fuelled by HSJ (Health Service Journal) article. D of H asked who'd 'leaked the story?' [Very naive -loads of people at London meeting, anyone could have reported what was said there.]

Much about what EP had considered. Funding for any new set-up? If based on local authorities, would be 150 networks, divide CPPIH's £28m and you get about £150k per network. 500 PPIFs, would members sign up to new thing? Will there be cash ready to fuel the new thing? Will PPIFs be cornerstone of starting new thing?

2. Overview.

Resource Centre is up and running at Warwick University, and is resource for ppi in the NHS overall.

CPPIH will go. Probably summer 07, could be as late as Sept.

There will be a Health Bill in autumn, or in new year.

Will PPIFs go at same time as CPPIH?

Should know timetable for all this before House rises in 3 weeks’ time.

Will PPIF members migrate to new thing?

Vital to avoid a vacuum.

PPIFs have "had impact, must not let this wane, there is still a real job to do."

Reform of House of Lords this autumn may block legislative time-table.

PALS will stay.

ICAS will stay.

3. Next

"PPI is central to patient-led NHS" says gov. This is more than rhetoric.

Local people and organisations must champion local issues. New ‘localism’ especially in local gov.

Pulling together the learning, so all can lean on each other is important.

Bottom-up organisation without standardisation may be the model.

Gov cannot "manage from the centre"

Need to feed to Ministers from the 150 new organisations to give a national voice. Could networks be tied to local authorities? [NO] Need less bureaucracy. CPPIH was made so by its constitution. Section 11 to be "strengthened and streamlined" by the Minister. Powers of redress needed if consultations not adequate. Reconfiguration of PCTs was "an administrative issue" so outside Section 11, not necessary to consult.

4. Now.

Sea-change in attitude from Ministers, D of H and NHS to PPI Forums. Lots of Forums really valued. Message of mass resignations if the gov does not get it right. New system would founder. The Announcement will be "a briefing document with questions in it." It will "seek advice from interested groups, especially from PPIF members, in order to 'make it happen' in the required time-scale."

5. Questions from the floor.

Q. Why speak as if this is a done deal? Representations bear fruit. Petition MPs and Ministers, Royal Colleges etc.

A. It is not a done deal yet, that's right.

Q. Confusion about PALS, about existing 'local networks'. Is the Minister going to address this? Harry Cayton said that "networks" were CPPIH’s idea. What about social care?

A. "The Health Minister oversees a large portfolio and needs help." It is right that the 'network' was a CPPIH idea. It was seeking to widen membership.

Q. Isn’t all this part and parcel of privatising the NHS? I think that the 'announcement' will be wrapped up in other policy announcements about private providers etc. and Forums will be presented as the 'safeguard for the public.' Public is unaware of what's happening with private provision.

A. SL believes that the 'networks' will cover the private sector too, and commissioning. Problems, tho', of contracting and confidentiality. Contracting can drive up quality of delivery.

Q. Sympathy for FSOs position. CPPIH should have cancelled this meeting as there was nothing yet to say. Cash spent here better used to inform and assist F members etc.

A. This meeting was booked in April. Really believed announcement would have come. If cancelled, would have forfeited 75% of booking costs.

Q. This ‘new thing’ is completely against the work that Forums for Ambulance Trusts have been doing. They have merged and are forging ahead. Don’t see need to ditch Forums. Combine some if necessary.

A. Politicians/Ministers will listen to the MPs, even if they do not seem to listen to the public.

Q. If the 'new thing' comes, vital there is no gap in the work. Outrageous if work to date was lost. Members still being recruited, do they know what’s up ahead?

A. There should not be a gap.

Q. Totally pissed off. Too much bureaucracy. CPPIH says it wants 'inclusivity' yet no cash up front for members, takes ages to reclaim expenses, all this demotivates, especially when CPPIH chooses swanky hotels and spends money like water.

A. We ought to try to make monies available. People should not be out of pocket.

Q. We are talking about communities here. Do Ministers realise this?

A. The Announcement is not the end of it. MPs are "really interested now".

6. Workshops.

Usual thing, off into groups/ rooms, back for CPPIH to "capture views in bullet points".

About 11 groups reported. The vast majority said the same things:

7. FSO Group. (Leslie Forsyth)

The FSOs had had a separate 'workshop'.

There was concern about to whom the ‘networks’ would be accountable.

Ruth Marsden said it was an abiding shame that time hadn’t been devoted to talking about interacting with Parliament and lobbying etc. CPPIH had, two months ago, requested ideas for Workshops and I had sent this as a suggestion. I was asked for more information on my ideas, and forwarded it.

8. Leslie Forsyth said

Members alluded to Sharon Grant's speech in London in April and said they had "little support for what she said." Her ideas were not Forums' ideas. Wasn't the Expert panel working with 'corrupted information, therefore'?

David Orchard said that CPPIH had TWO responsibilities, one to support Forums etc and the other to "advise Ministers on the Commission’s view of ppi." The Commission "supported PPI Fs as far as the legislation went, but also advised the Minister." Forum members were deeply unhappy with this. There was a direct conflict of interest.

DO admitted "there are tensions". CPPIH "supports, recruits and funds PPI Fs but also "advises Ministers on ppi in general." Again, he said there were "tensions" but "Commissioners were perfectly entitled to their own view." !!!!!

The issue of NARG was raised. David Orchard said, "NARG happened to be around at a time to say something helpful" and had now been replaced with "an unambiguous channel."

We were promised copies of the power-point presentation of SL, and notes of the whole meeting, "within a few days."

NB. Square brackets are mine, and relate to comment/concensus from the floor.

Ruth Marsden, 3rd July 06.