A public meeting at Penzance descended into a shambolic chaos tonight (Tues) when the professional communicator from the NHS, Grant Davies, couldn’t control the rowdy full house at St Johns Hall.
First a tiny shoddy PA wasn’t working properly then after being talked at for 15 mins or so about the NHS “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” (STP) the meeting descended into a display of rage over the government’s plans to cut £264 million pounds from Cornwall’s NHS budget. We are basically being asked ‘how do you want those cuts to be delivered?’.
Mr Davies was joined at the meeting by two very senior NHS staff who didn’t say a word. He then invited the visibly agitated crowd to break out into 6 smaller groups to discuss in detail what people think should happen.
That’s when it kicked off.
Speakers from the floor said that they we here to talk to experts not talk to each other and demand to be able to fire questions at the panel. Andrew George spoke for many health campaigners about the shoddy process this ‘consultation’ had become. Mr Davies couldn’t control the Penzance people and the meeting then quickly descended into a shambolic chaos. At one point a man who was trying to hijack the meeting for his own agenda was asked to sit down by Mr Davies who is quickly told to “Shut up” and the man continued.
Several campaigners make their point and walked out of the meeting in disgust. Sound problems continued to dog the evening, with one man pointing out that the council has recently spent £5 million on renovating St John’s Hall but no one could hear a thing.
On CornishStuff FB page you can see a video of Madron resident Shirley Fawcett raging at Grant Davies after the meeting saying that the evening had “quadrupled the insult” for her. Mr Davies can only sheepishly apologise.
Penzance has shown a reaction that Mr Davies must now fear will be copied throughout Cornwall. The question is – what on earth is he going to take back from meetings like this? The gathered people were invited to attend the breakout sessions but by then most of the Penzance rebels had left the building.
Reaction to the meeting has been swift : Local councillor and health campaigner Sue James said “A very sad excuse for a consultation. Sadly, they had under estimated the size of the audience and their passion but over estimated their ability to get people to engage with the glossy unrealistic plan that has no money to support its implementation. People just walked out disgusted.”
Andrew George : “Shame this evening’s NHS meeting at St John’s Hall Pz was shambolic. But local health managers should let people speak out about it, not just fill in forms asking if they support motherhood and apple pie”
Cllr James has requested that there is a debate at the Full Council meeting at County hall on Jan 24th – as the STP has not been debated at all by elected representatives. Cllr James is awaiting confirmation that the debate will take place but time is expected to be allocated as the idea has alot of support from fellow councillors.
Here is your chance to see what you missed! Sue James again: ” P*** up in the B****** about sums it up!”
Poor Mr Davies has to face another two weeks of this across Cornwall dates and venues here: Critical Fortnight for NHS Kernow: Still unsure what Cornwall’s STP means for local health services? What’s at stake? What does it all mean for our NHS?: