22 February 2023




The Scrutiny of Health Committee has a responsibility to review any matter relating to the planning, provision and operation of health services within the county, including Ambulance Trusts and the policies of the Strategic Health Authority.  A key part of that responsibility is requiring NHS bodies to consult health scrutiny on proposals for substantial developments or variations to local health service provision.  The Committee contributes to annual health checks by providing commentaries to the Health Care Commission on the performance of NHS Trusts serving North Yorkshire and on the experiences that the Committee has had with those Trusts. 


Committee meeting on 16th December 2022.

The Committee last met on 16th December 2022, in person in the Council Chamber at County Hallall.H. At that meeting, Members received detailed presentations on: Catterick Integrated Care Campus; Airedale Hospital; further details on Tees, Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports and the West Lane Hospital independent reports as well as an update on the Autism Strategy Report. There were no public questions or statements at the committee meeting.


Outlined below are further details in relation to some of the areas that the committee has been looking at.


Autism Strategy Report

The Committee received an update on the new autism strategy report. Colleagues from Health and Adult Services outlined the initial work that has taken place on the new autism strategy and the future implementation and action plans including;

       developing an autism multi agency core working group

       working closely with a self-advocacy group to hear peoples voices

       starting to gather insight – data, engagement, national direction 

       planning underway for the new All Aged Autism strategy to launch in 2024

       mapping achievements, gaps, process against the last strategy 

       Children and Young People strategy in draft format


The key areas and themes going forward were highlighted and the Committee given an update on what we said we would do, what we have done and, where applicable, what we still need to do. This covered;


Finally, the key commitments of the National Autism Strategy 2021- 2026 were covered and the implementation timeframe. The Committee agreed that going forward an annual update on the strategy is brought to the Committee as a regular agenda item.


TEWV Reports

The Committee were updated on the actions that have taken place following the West Lane Hospital independent reports by the Trusts Care Group Director and Deputy Chief Executive. This detailed the many changes being made, including a new organisational and governance structure in place since April 2022. The Trust now falls into two new care groups allowing strengthened reporting directly to the Trust’s board. Two lived experience directors have been recruited into the leadership team and all changes have been made with the knowledge and oversight of the CQC and NHS England and are reviewed monthly at an external Quality Assurance Board, chaired by NHS England. Details were also shared in terms of patient safety including a £5m investment to ensure safer wards, new safety summaries and safety plans, observation and engagement plans, daily safety huddles, a modernised incident reporting process and improved incident reporting.


Airedale Hospital

The Committee was presented with an up-to-date situation regarding Airedale Hospital and the issues it currently faces by a representative from Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. The key points covered were;

·         Airedale is one of seven hospitals constructed predominantly of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC)


It was suggested the Committee write to the MP in order to lobby Government and perhaps support a press release and/or write to NHS England in support of replacing the hospital as Members felt that the public were not aware of the severity of the situation.

The Committee has subsequently written to Rt. Hon Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and copied Rt Hon Julian Smith MP and Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP (as MP’s whose constituents use the services provided by Airedale Hospital), as well as Lord Markham (for the New Hospital Programme).


Submission to the Health and Social Care Committee

The Scrutiny of Health Committee has recently made a submission to Steve Brine, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee in relation to their call for evidence in support of an enquiry into the struggle to access NHS dentistry services. This followed the results of a survey that showed 90% of practices across the UK were not accepting new adult NHS patients. The submission called for evidence addressing the following points;

       What steps should the Government and NHS England take to improve access to NHS dental services?

       What role should ICSs play in improving dental services in their local area?

       How should inequalities in accessing NHS dental services be addressed?

       Does the NHS dental contract need further reform?

       What incentives should be offered by the NHS to recruit and retain dental professionals, and what is the role of training in this context?


A copy of the submission is available if any Member would like to see it. The West Yorkshire Joint Health Scrutiny Committee also made a submission which contained very similar feedback.


Committee Workplan

Having previously discussed at length the challenges facing healthcare across the County generally and in particular the areas the Committee felt would be a priority in terms of Scrutiny over the next 18-24 months, the workplan has been updated to reflect this.


The Committee is keen to work collaboratively and will therefore continue to link in with the Council’s Area Constituency Committees (ACC’s) to ensure focus is maintained at a local level. The committee will also continue to work closely with the Care and Independence Overview and Scrutiny Committee allowing continued joint working around social care.


The next meeting of the committee will be at 10am on 10 March 2023. 



Chairman of the Scrutiny of Health Committee

25 January 2023