Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Townlands monitor dubbed 'tokenistic'

CAMPAIGNERS are to propose a vote of no confidence in health chiefs over their handling of the Towlands Hospital redevelopment

CAMPAIGNERS are to propose a vote of no confidence in health chiefs over their handling of the Townlands Hospital redevelopment.

The Townlands Steering Group has accused the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group of a “lack of engagement” with the community over the new hospital, which is due to open next month.

And it called the new Townlands Stakeholder Reference Group “tokenistic”.

This group was formed following a meeting of the commissioning group’s board in September with a remit to engage with the community and key stakeholders on monitoring the hospital.

Since then it has met twice with agendas set by the commissioning group.

Speaking at a Henley Town Council meeting on Tuesday, steering group chairman Ian Reissmann said the reference group has failed to engage with the community as promised.

He said: “We do not believe it is providing the information we need or is listening to the concerns of the community.

“The group met last week and didn’t agree on our proposed changes to the terms of reference, although it did agree to appoint an independent chairman.

“Very little came out of the meeting that was of any use or interest in reassuring us about our areas of concern.

“The commissioning group is keen to keep up an impression of being engaged. The reference group is the mechanism but is purely tokenistic.”

Cllr Reissmann said the steering group had received “virtually no information” on issues such as the hospital’s new rapid access care unit and the care home beds over the last six months.

It wrote to Dr Joe McManners , clinical chairman of the commissioning group, asking to meet him.

Cllr Reissmann said: “We expressed our concerns that the reference group didn’t amount to engagement in any meaningful sense.

“Dr McManners originally agreed to meet with us but he now feels there is a good process for involvement.

“At the next steering group meeting we will put our views to the community and propose a vote of no confidence in the commissioning group.

“That involves a pretty serious breakdown and we hope the result will be that the commissioning group’s board will instruct the executive to do what it committed to do and engage with the community.”

The steering group meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at the town hall on Monday, February 29.

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