Councillors Not Consulted On Hospital Lease Plan
The Chairman of Scilly’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Gordon Bilsborough, says elected members should have made the decision to investigate taking over the St Mary’s Hospital lease.
Yesterday Radio Scilly reported that our MP Derek Thomas had, on the invitation of the Council, discussed the idea of the authority taking over the hospital building with Communities and Local Government Minister Greg Clark.
Derek says it will allow better integration of health and social care services on the islands.
But both NHS Kernow and NHS Property, who own the lease, have contacted Radio Scilly to say they are still working closely with local partners in Scilly on the integration plans.
Gordon Bilsborough says the first he knew about plans for the Council to take over the lease was when he heard it on Radio Scilly yesterday.
He says Council officers should have discussed this with members first to get their opinions and he believes the process is “shortcutting democracy.”
He intends to raise it at the next meeting of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr Bilsborough says last month’s Community Services meeting discussed moving some dementia services from Park House to a new residential unit at the hospital.
Gordon says he’s happy with plans to build a facility there, but has concerns about taking over the property because the Council could be landed with a large bill for upkeep.
And he says at no time was there any talk of amalgamating the two and taking over the hospital lease.
Gordon says it’s important that every Council policy is approved by elected councillors because at the end of the day, they are held responsible.
“Members go to the gallows if they get it wrong,” he says.
And he’d like all of them to scrutinise decisions more closely and ask questions if they think something is wrong.
We contacted the Council’s press office yesterday offering them a chance to comment and to ask whether they felt officers had authority to ask the MP to discuss taking over the hospital lease with the Minister. We’ve not had a response.