Members are asked to note that arrangements are being made to hold a further meeting of the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to hear evidence from Sir Neil McKay and his Team from the Joint Committee for Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) and Catherine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Primary Care Trust Cluster in her capacity as the person who attended the JCPCT meeting on 4 July 2012 on behalf of the Leicester Leicestershire and Rutland PCT Cluster.
It had originally been planned to hear this evidence at this meeting but the JCPCT Team were unable to attend and they wish to send as strong a Team as possible to give evidence and explain their decision.
The Chair stated that a number of attempts had been made to arrange for the Committee to hear evidence from Sir Neil McKay and his Team from the Joint Committee for Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT). The original approach had been made on 27 July and on 1 August an invitation had been made for the team to present evidence at this meeting but the JCPCT Team had indicated they were unable to attend and they wished to send as strong a Team as possible to give evidence and explain their decision. A further offer was then made to arrange a meeting in October on dates suitable to them. An e-mail had been received earlier in the day stating that the only date they could attend a meeting was 29 October 2012, although the date was still provisional.
The Chair stated that he wished for the Scrutiny process to be as thorough as possible but felt that delaying the process until the end of October could compromise the Committee’s position in making a referral to the Secretary of State.
The Chair further commented that it had been brought to his attention the previous day that Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee had already referred the JCPCT’s decision to the Secretary of State on 27 July 2012. The Secretary of State had responded to their referral letter on 8th August 2012 stating that he had referred the matter to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) and had asked them to report back to him by 21 September. In view of this it was felt that it would be inappropriate to wait any longer before following up the letter sent to the Secretary of State on behalf of the Committee on 23 August (Appendix B).
The Chair therefore submitted a number of proposals which were circulated to the Committee. Following discussion of these proposals it was unanimously:
1) that the Committee considers that the evidence submitted at the meeting at Minute 5 above, together with the evidence from the UHL and the University of Leicester, is sufficiently strong enough upon which to make a decision to make a referral to the Secretary of State;
2) that in view of the response of the Secretary of State to the referral made by Lincolnshire County Council indicating that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) was undertaking an initial review with a view to reporting back by 21 September, the Committee needs to ensure that the additional evidence in its referral is taken into account by the IRP before it submits its views to the Secretary of State on 21 September;
3) that in view of the urgency, the Committee should respond to the Secretary of State by the end of the week and that the Chair and Vice Chair be given delegated authority to approve the response which will then be circulated to all members;
4) that given the attempts to invite the JCPCT to give evidence to this Committee today and their unavailability to attend until the end of October at the earliest, the Committee considers that it cannot wait to hear evidence from them before making a formal referral to the Secretary of State; and
5) that a copy of the referral be sent to the JCPCT who are understood to be meeting on 4th October for their information.