Agenda item

To answer questions asked under Procedure Rule No. 10, if any.

(At least two clear days notice required, in writing, to the Proper Officer in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.3.)



1.     Question to the Leader of the Council received from Councillor C. Atkins:


“What actions has the chair of the SMDC Health Scrutiny Committee taken since she accepted responsibility for scrutinising the withdrawal of all services at the Minor Injuries Unit of Leek Moorlands Hospital from the County Council's Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee?”




“Following the agreement that the District Council would scrutinise the temporary closure of Leek Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) representatives of the Moorlands Partnership Foundation Trust (MPFT) attended the meeting of the Panel held on 22 December 2020.  Councillors had an opportunity to highlight the problems encountered relating to the temporary closure of the MIU.  This included the need to travel outside of the District to the Haywood Hospital to access alternative facilities, experiences of individual constituents and fears that the temporary closure would lead to a permanent closure of the Unit.  The Trust assured the Panel that the closure was temporary and the decision was taken in order to ensure the safety of services provided and consolidate limited resources available at the Haywood Hospital.


Following the Panel meeting the Council has written to the MPFT asking it to provide an update for the re-opening of the MIU together with the criteria that need to be met to enable the re-opening.  The Trust has replied and explained that in order to release the staff required to re-open the MIU this will be dependent on the de-escalation of all additional bed capacity and the re-introduction of minor injuries at Royal Stoke Hospital.


The Chief Executive of the MPFT, Neil Carr, and the Accountable Officer of the North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Marcus Warnes, have also accepted requests to attend the next meeting of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel (3 March 2021 – 2.00 pm) to provide a further update and enable councillors to scrutinise the temporary closure of the unit further.”


In response to supplementary questions the Leader of the Council stated that she speaks with Neil Carr and Marcus Warnes on a weekly basis and that an opportunity for questions to be answered would arise at the next meeting of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel at which the senior management of the MPFT and CCG would be present.  The Leader of the Council also stated that she would take part in campaigns with Councillor Atkins for the re-opening of the minor injuries unit.


2.     Question to the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Sports received from Councillor G. Bentley:


“What is SMDC’s involvement in the acquisition of the Cheadle disused railway track in Cheadle, to Cresswell and what is the outcome?”




“The freehold of the disused railway line from Cresswell to Cheadle is owned by the Department For Transport who has leased the land to Moorland and City Railways. It is understood that there is 7 years remaining on the lease. Enquires are being made and are ongoing with both the freeholder and tenant on whether the land would be for sale in the future and if so under what conditions.  Officers are to prepare a Cabinet Report that will set out a direction of travel to deliver the community aspiration for the disused railway line to be a public footpath. The report will need to establish the key legal, financial and operational issues, together with the potential costs for overcoming them.”


In response to supplementary questions the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Sports stated that the Department for Highways is keen to talk to the local authority to further develop the disused railway track and that following a meeting the previous day and the agreement of objectives contact would be made, if not already, with the Department of Transport, the local MP, members of the local community and Draycott, Checkley and Cheadle councils.  A timeframe would be provided when known.


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