Agenda item

Urgent Items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4)b) of the Local Government Act 1972.  The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.


The following item of business were considered by the Chairman as urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The item was considered to be urgent in the interest of the public. 


Item: Rapid Response Vehicle - Purbeck/Swanage Car


The Chairman outlined what the committee could and could not do in relation to this agenda item. Her statement is attached as an annexure to these minutes.


The Programme Director for Urgent and Emergency Care and the County Commander, South West Ambulance Trust gave a presentation which is attached as an annexure to these minutes.


The Chairman read a statement that had been received from Cllr Debby Monkhouse from Swanage Town Council, which is also attached to these minutes for ease of reference.



Cllr William Trite, ward member for Swanage, outlined the level of concern within the community of Swanage. Swanage had the largest population in the district and the time to A&E was one of the longest in the county. The severe road congestion was highlighted especially in the summer months.  Swanage had the highest population of elderly and retired people in the county. Asked for confirmation that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would come back to committee before any decision was made.


The Chairman advised that she had agreed to put this item on late as she was taking a pragmatic approach.  It was still very early on in the consultation and wanted to get as much information out to elected members and members of the public as soon as possible. 


Cllr Gary Suttle, ward member for Swanage, highlighted that the retention of Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) to Swanage was hugely important. There was a campaign ongoing in Swanage. He was unsure what engagement would be carried out for the community. The ‘listening event’ referred to was not open to members of the public. Reference was made to the commitment made by the previous Dorset County Council (DCC) and noted that Dorset Council had taken on all the roles and commitments from the county council. He asked members of the committee to ensure there was a wider public meeting in order to let members of the public give their points of view.


The Chairman reminded the councillor that this committee was not the appropriate committee to look at this before any decisions were made.


The Programme Director advised that engagement plans were still being finalised as this was really early stages.  It was confirmed there were no proposals and no options worked up as yet.  The Chairman asked that the Plan be shared with the Council to ensure members were aware.


Cllr Cherry Brooks, ward member for South East Purbeck.  Understood the concerns from residents.  Asked if the call centre assesses whether to follow up with an ambulance or was that something for the paramedic. The County Commander advised that calls were prioritised in the call centre, there were categories that would trigger certain vehicles but decisions were also taken by paramedics. Cllr Brooks made reference to a number of ambulances promised in the past which was different to the number actually received.


The Programme Director undertook to capture members’ thoughts and comments for the next part of the process. 


Cllr Laura Miller (Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health), ward member for West Purbeck,  found it reassuring there had been a clear statement from the CCG that there was no proposal to remove the car and no decisions as yet taken. She wanted to ensure services were available to all residents of Dorset and to ensure no one was put at risk. She would be overseeing the Dorset Council response to ensure services were equitable and safe.


Cllr Ray Bryan (Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel & Parking,

Environment & Wellbeing) highlighted the highway and travel issues in the local area. He would like the opportunity to speak on this at future meetings before any final decisions were made.


Cllr David Tooke, ward member for Cranborne and Alderholt, asked a question about times taken by RRVs and Double Crewed Ambulances (DCAs) to attend incidents, and how important was a defibrillator in terms of saving lives and the time taken for this to be in the right place.  The programme Director advised that these questions were more for the next stage of the work. However, it was important to know the worries and concerns of members.


Committee members

Cllr Robin Legg was particularly interested in understanding the process of consulting with the public before it comes back to a committee. Importance of qualitative and quantitive information for the public highlighted.  The nature of consultation would play a part in members feelings about any decision that might be made.  The Programme Director advised this would form part of the next steps and this would be shared with colleagues.


Cllr Nick Ireland had been a previous member of the DCC Health Scrutiny Committee so was aware of the history. He highlighted that RRVs were quicker than a DCAs.  The Local Member for Parliament, Richard Drax had written to Swanage Town Council in May saying about a proposal that already been made.  The Programme Director accepted they needed to do more listening and work and accepted that further scenarios could help with the next phases. She reiterated that no proposals had been made, the work had been delayed by Covid was now ongoing.


The Chairman made reference to the letter from Richard Drax and asked officers from the CCG to look into this and provide further clarity.


Cllr Rennie made reference to misinformation which had the potential to cause real issues.


The Chairman commented that it was evident how emotive this issue would be and reiterated there were no proposals on the table at this time.  Dorset Council’s role would only be in responding to the consultation which would be within the remit of the People and Health Overview Committee but she would be interested in timescales for when it might come forward for scrutiny.

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