Francis report due out tomorrow

I was pleased to see the council’s benchmark of saving £133m over the past four years and the work done to promote private sector investment recognised in a new way. SCC was named as Council of the week by Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis’ in this blog piece here. It’s good to see recognition by the Local Government Minister and such a positive statement from the home of Conservatism itself!

But there is still much to do.

The Francis Report is due out this week and will undoubtedly drive huge NHS reforms while reporting on the horrendous failings at Stafford Hospital.

If we are really serious about transforming the NHS, then the voice of the public needs to be the driver for change and sadly we need look no further than our own local hospital to see why this must happen.

As a council we are committed to doing everything in our power to help support partners deliver a first class health service for the people of Staffordshire and to ensure that history is not repeated.  We have a smaller, but still important, role to both scrutinise and challenge and we have already made bold, decisive changes to ensure Staffordshire residents not only have a voice, but that it is as loud and as powerful as it can be.

We now have the independent patient champion Engaging Communities Staffordshire up and running and we will be bolstering this in the spring with the launch of HealthWatch – a public-led organisation tasked with shaping NHS services.  We have also made scrutiny procedures of NHS partners tougher, with the public also able to attend meetings and ask questions directly of senior NHS officials.

As the winter sun starts to shine we can see the damage left behind by the wet and cold weather. Roads are made of sturdy stuff, and it takes more than your regular wear and tear to damage them. However as time goes on tarmac will take hits and potholes will pepper the asphalt. As such, the council will be taking further steps to make essential road repairs and will be investing an additional £500,000 into fixing our potholes. This is a demonstration of the council’s commitment to the safety of its drivers and upkeeping of a high quality road network.

Against rising fuel costs and the wide concerns for the environment, several council buildings have taken to using greener methods to keep warm and provide energy, with the use of biomass boilers. These eco friendly heaters use wood chips sourced from Staffordshire, with our new HQ currently being powered off of a single boiler. These boilers will become more popular and will help sustainably fuel other council buildings to help keep costs down.

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