The Leader of the Council, Councillor Phil Davies, addressed the Council on the following matters:
· Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
The Leader referred to the shocking report published last week by Mr Robert Francis QC, which found serious failings in the quality hospital care provided by Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. He expressed sorrow and concern for the families and friends of those affected and highlighted the importance of key partners in Wirral examining the report findings to determine whether any actions were required to ensure that no such failings happened in Wirral.
Although there was no suggestion of any issues concerning the quality of hospital care provided in Wirral, he proposed as a matter of urgency that, in order to uphold the highest possible standards of care, a proactive approach be taken to recognise and deal with service failures before things go badly wrong, as happened in Mid-Staffs –
(i). As Chair of Wirral’s Health and Well Being Board, he would be seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the key issues from the Francis Report and to ask the Clinical Commissioning Group to present a report on their governance and monitoring arrangements; to include input from Healthwatch, in relation to their new role and how it would act as an early warning system.
(ii). He proposed also to write to the Chair of the Council’s Health and Well Being O&S Committee to suggest that a similar discussion takes place and that the Committee consider the establishment of a ‘Task and Finish’ group to ascertain in detail the suitability of governance and monitoring arrangements.
· New Affordable Homes
He was pleased to announce that, under “Housing 21” proposals and following initial consultation with residents, new affordable homes were to be built in Seacombe Ward, on the site of the former Poulton House.
At a time of rapidly increasing food prices and high demand for allotments, he reported that the newly established “Leasowe Community Allotment Society” would take a 25 year ‘peppercorn’ lease from the Council for a parcel of land on the former site of Leasowe Primary School. The site would provide 29 individual full, half and quarter size allotment plots, a communal allotment area, picnic areas and a communal orchard. The Society’s aim was to develop a thriving, attractive and multifunctional allotment site that benefited plot-holders, visitors, the local community and wildlife.
· Rogue Trading
Wirral Trading Standards had recently obtained its first Anti-Social Behaviour Order against a rogue trader at Wirral Magistrates’ Court. The person in question had been found guilty of offences of fraud and aggressive trade practices and was made subject of the Order and was also sentenced to five months imprisonment, disqualified from driving for 18 months and was ordered to pay costs of £2,300 and £95 compensation for the re-bedding of roof tiles after the incident.
· Prenton High School
He was pleased to announce that the Headteacher of Prenton High School had received a letter from the Rt Hon David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, congratulating the school on its success for being in the top 100 secondary schools in England for educational excellence. He had expressed the thanks and congratulations of the Council to the Headteachers, Governors, staff and pupils of Prenton High School for their tremendous achievement.
· New Housing Development
A total of 155 new homes were to be built on the site of the former St Benedict’s School at Woodchurch. The development was a partnership between social housing provider Wirral Partnership Homes and Mansell Construction. WPH would own 131 of the properties to be rented out, whilst the rest would be sold by Mansell. The first sod had been cut during a special ceremony attended by local Councillors Stuart Whittingham and Tony Smith. He indicated that the development was the biggest housing development in the North West and was excellent news for Wirral.