Where’s New Velindre’s large scale options appraisal? Yes, at the time of this blog updated from January, that spectre’s still haunting New Velindre. In December 2021 Colocate Velindre contested a local politician’s claim about the Nuffield Trust’s report to Velindre in 2020: https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/nuffield-myths-always-look-twice/. The claim was that ‘Nuffield said the build should go ahead’. This assertion was a fiction.
The politician had just not grasped the significance of Nuffield’s insistence on a large-scale options appraisal. It preceded and determined everything else in any major process of clinical change. The words are strong, surely because some lack was suspected. So, it wouldn’t and couldn’t say ‘go ahead’:
‘…we are not making any judgement about the decision to site the new VCC on the Northern Meadows. Such a large-scale option appraisal exercise is not only well beyond our terms of reference but is fundamentally about values and the choices that need to be assessed and taken by all involved.’ (p.11)
Further points appeared in the original version of today’s blog on the 6th of January. These are updated here too:
The obvious implication
The public have still been told nothing about who initiated, concluded and sealed this exact location detail. Hence one thing is sure. With such invisibility nothing ‘large-scale’ can have taken place.
So New Velindre cannot simply go on ignoring its non-compliance with this condition, especially when presenting itself as a follower of Nuffield. To see Nuffield’s wisdom proven beyond doubt see: https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/jaguar-electric-vs-rickshaw/
The obvious implication now set in stone
To repeat the question, where’s New Velindre’s large scale options appraisal? Our original post noted a New Velindre fog around the NHS requirement for a large-scale appraisal. But we couldn’t foresee what would happen a few days later. New Velindre, in a Freedom of Information email reply, now reported that no evidence ever existed for any such groundwork exercise.
Shockingly, it holds no records, e.g. minutes, for the biggest deliberations in its history informing and empowering the main driving decision. An undocumented process had determined the destiny of New Velindre and ultimately its £562m + final price-tag. In particular, that destiny was the somewhat antique, ‘stand-alone’ model underpinning everything (i.e. built away from an acute hospital). All alleged decision-making for this is undocumented, unofficial and invisible. For the full story exposed, visit:
Freedom of Information – but ‘where are the Velindre minutes?’
What it all means
From the above we see that the Nuffield panel had found a way of raising this exercise with New Velindre, surely on the suspicion that the requirement had not been met.
But even now New Velindre’s leaders continue to ignore the matter while loudly claiming to follow Nuffield. It’s a misleading claim. No wonder the January 2021 letter from 163 senior clinicians (snubbed twice by Welsh Government) had stated: “There must be a formal review, including an updated, full options appraisal…This can be done at pace.” https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/letter-from-163-clinicians/
The first version of this blog urged the Minister of Health, Senedd Health Committee, shadow ministers and Senedd members to reassure us of sound procedures and foundations for the New Velindre programme. In fact, the Health Committee did indeed ask for clarification regarding the astounding disclosure. The end result left New Velindre itself confirming the truth of our blog. In a further, even more shocking, response it confirmed there were no records, and none were needed! https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/no-records-exist-meetings-set-24499250
It’s a sentiment that can’t be squared with what Nuffield had spelt out so clearly. Surely this New Velindre precedent, and the hubris and audacity lying behind it, matters hugely to cancer care in all of Wales. In fact, all health care in Wales. Perhaps even all government spending in Wales.