Today’s Diary – Public Health

Today I will be part of a group of councillors looking at how the Council performs its Public Health function.  Blackburn with Darwen Council receives £13 million from the government for this function.  It includes services like: smoking cessation, falls prevention, substance misuse, weight management sexual health etc.


Today’s Diary – Health

Today I met with Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health to discuss a number of issues including the recent Keogh report on East Lancs Hospital Trust which includes the Royal Blackburn hospital.

This is a summary of the reports conclusions and recommendations:

East Lancashire NHS Trust

The review identified a number of concerns at the Trust particularly related to the quality governance assurance systems. The review panel also identified a number of areas of good practice and dedicated staff, but there was more for the Trust to do to communicate effectively to staff and share learning to ensure consistent approaches to quality improvement across the organisation, all of the time.

Issues that were escalated immediately?

The panel identified that there had been a high level of still born babies in March 2013 but this had not been escalated to the Board or investigated. The Trust has is now investigating this and is setting clearer procedures for triggering escalation.

? The review team also expressed concern over the appropriateness of the location of two close observation beds (referred to as high dependency beds by some staff) in the Delivery Care Centre in the maternity unit, which were used for pre- and post-delivery pre-eclampsia. This is being reviewed urgently by management.

Other urgent actions?

The Board’s quality governance processes were not cohesive and failed to use information effectively to improve the quality of care.

? The governance systems are not providing the expected level of assurance to the Board, and the escalation to the Board of risks and clinical issues is inconsistent.

? Managing high patient levels, particularly in A&E, and understanding and addressing the issues causing high readmission rates of patients treated in the Trust’s hospitals.

? The Trust’s complaints process was poor and lacking a compassionate approach.

The review team considered that staffing levels were low for medical and nursing staff when compared to national standards. Particular issues should be addressed regarding registrar cover and medical staffing in the emergency department, and levels of midwifery staff.

Certain clinical concerns raised by staff have not been addressed, including known high mortality at the weekends.

Whilst some of these actions will take longer to address entirely, assurance in respect of patient flows in A&E and concerns over staffing in the midwifery unit had already been sought by the CQC.

Follow up

The Trust has responded positively to the review process with some urgent issues already addressed, for example, the establishment of a multi-professional Mortality Steering Group. The Trust is working very closely with the TDA and others to address the other key priorities.

The Trust will develop a detailed action plan, working with the TDA, to all outstanding concerns and recommended actions included in the RRR report. A follow up risk summit will be held in September 2013 to monitor progress and provide an updated action plan for ongoing review and monitoring arrangements.

Waterfield Mill – application withdrawn

Waterfield Mill site, Balmoral Rd

Waterfield Mill site, Balmoral Rd


The controversial plans to build over 30 houses on the demolished Waterfield Mill site on Balmoral Rd. have been withdrawn.  The plans were to build houses for rent.  We organised a public meeting to discuss the plans with the developers and residents were strongly against it and asked the developers to modify their plans.  The plans have now been withdrawn and hopefully a modified plan which will get the agreement of residents will be submitted.





Planning Application for Waterfield Mill

A new planning application has come in for the recently demolished Waterfield Mill off Balmoral Rd. in the Whitehall Ward.
This plan is for 35 properties and increase on the number on the previously agreed plan, which was 26.
It is from the Together Housing Group, which includes Twin Valley Homes and consists of 12 3 bedroomed houses and 23 2 bedroomed houses. The development will be part of the government “Build to Rent Fund”.
Residents have the 5 June to write in with objection or comments.  These should be sent to Planning Department, Town Hall, Blackbutn BB1 7DY

You can view the proposed plan here: Site Plan Waterfield Mill site

Blackburn with Darwen becomes a Heart Town

I attended an event at Ewood Park yesterday to laulackburn with Darwen becoming a Heart Town. This is a joint initiative between The British Heart Foundation, Blackburn with Darwen Council, Blackburn with Darwen Care Trust Plus and Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn with Darwen has a higher a higher than average number of people suffering from herat problems and this initiative which lasts three years is designed to help reduce this. It will be through a combination of educational campaigns through schools, workplace initiatives and work in the community. We saw an excellent animation produced by the pupils of Sudell Primary School in Darwen