By the time that you are reading this the Independent Reconfiguration Panel will have submitted their report on the plans for Dewsbury Hospital.
Because this is such an important issue I thought it would be useful to take a closer look at the panel and its members – not least because there have already been some pretty inaccurate comments about them.
The panel’s chairman is Lord Ribeiro. He is a retired surgeon. He pioneered the introduction of keyhole surgery and was president of the Royal College of Surgeons for three years.
There are five more ‘medics’ on the panel include a GP, an intensive care consultant, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, a consultant neonatologists and a consultant nurse.
People who spend their time saving lives make up the largest group on the panel. There are also five lay members including the chair of the Leeds branch of ‘Healthcare’ (the patients’ watchdog) and the founding member of the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Campaign. All of them have years of experience of working in patient’s interests. The remaining five members of the panel have more than 60 years of NHS management experience between them.
As a panel they are completely independent.
I do not know what their report will say but I have no doubt that they are qualified to judge.
In fact they are the best-qualified group in the country, that’s why they are the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.
If you tuned in for my appearance on the Politics Show you will have seen me discussing local authority budgets.
There was a difference of opinion between a Labour MP and myself.
Her view was that there was no point in looking for savings in local authority budgets because there is no waste. I thought that was giving in too easily and I don’t see the harm in looking to see if savings can be made.
There is a good reason for this. Local authorities, and governments, don’t have money. Only people have money. Local authorities and governments then take some of it from them.
Finding savings means taking less from people and spending what is taken as efficiently as possible. Why isn’t that sensible?
Finally, thank you to the gentleman who took the time to write to David Cameron and tell him about the street stalls! It was a really nice letter and much appreciated.
Next week it will be five years since I started them and I always enjoy them rain, snow or sunshine. In that time hundreds and hundreds of people have dropped by and it is always nice to see regulars as well as new faces.
A special thank you also to all those who come along and help.
Very best wishes,