Last Night’s Full Council Meeting – Tragedy, Health And The Palace




First of all, it was a sombre day for Leader of the Council Terry Cutmore. Terry’s brother had died unexpectably the day before, and though it was obviously a tragic time, Terry soldiered on and took his usual leading role in the meeting. Condolances and sympathy were offered from all sides of the chamber.

The main item of the evening concerned health care – we had a presentation from Andrew Pike , chief executive of NHS South East Essex (a new name for the Primary Care Trust) He outlined their strategic plan for future years. Some of the key points were:

  • They would be spending an extra ?66 million pounds over the next five years in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford on ‘investing in improving health’ ‘building up the network of GP, primary care and community services” and “a better organised NHS”
  • This was really only a small increase compared with overall spending of ?500 million
  • One of their main concerns was the big local disparity in life expectancy – people in Hockley lived an average of 12 years longer than people in the Kursaal area of Southend
  • Councillors then had the chance to comment:

  • Ron Oatham asked what plans they had for a primary care centre for Hockley and Rayleigh residents – the answer was that there is no firm blueprint yet
  • Chris Black followed this up by stressing that we needed to change the council policy of building this in Rawreth – it wouldn’t suit Rayleigh and Hockley residents and we shouldn’t move GPs out of the town centres!
  • Terry Livings spoke very strongly from personal experience about poor communications between parts of the local NHS
  • Derek Stansby asked why his doctor’s surgery could no longer do blood tests. The answer he got wasn’t very clear on the why, but Mr Pike said he was trying to restore the service.
  • Jackie Dillnutt stressed the need for GPs surgeries to be open more at weekends – someone in her family had to go to A&E because of severe earache. Mr Pike said they were starting to achieve this.
  • The final item on the agenda was the selection of councillors to go to a Royal Garden Party this summer. Every year two councillors, each with one extra guest, can go. The tradition in Rochford is that the longest serving councillors who haven’t been before on behald of Rochford DC get to go. If more than two councillors have equal length of service, it’s decided by drawing names on bits of paper out of an envelope.

    To cut a long story short, 9 names went into the hat, and the names of Cllr Jeremy Thomass and Cllr June Lumley were pulled out. So a third councillor – Chris Lumley – will go as well, as June’s guest (this disqualifies him from future years)

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