A COUNCILLOR has called for the resignation of health chiefs after he was cleared of a complaint they made against him.
The official complaint was lodged by Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) over comments made by Richmondshire District Council leader John Blackie during a public consultation over the shake-up of maternity services at Northallerton’s Friarage hospital.
Lay chairman of the CCG, Henry Cronin, contacted North Yorkshire County Council, claiming Coun Blackie had breached the code of conduct which states councillors must not treat others with disrespect or bully or intimidate them.
He alleged Coun Blackie had accused NHS staff of being “dishonest” during a public meeting at Richmond School and “called into question the integrity” of the CCG.
Deputy monitoring officer Stepehn Knight listened to recordings and read trascripts from the meetings.
And, in a draft official report into the allegations, he said: “I have found no statement by Councillor Blackie in the transcripts of these meetings in which NHS staff are accused of being dishonest, or which calls into question the integrity of the Hambleton Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group and its team, or which says that the CCG are lying to the public.”
He concluded: “I take the view that Councillor Blackie is entitled to have his own beliefs and, at a public consultation meeting, to express those beliefs as a member of the public and as an elected councillor.”
Now Coun Blackie has called on Mr Cronin and Dr Vicki Pleydell to consider resigning their positions on the Board of Governors of the CCG before the decision is made.
He said complaining about his response in a public meeting was an attempt to undermine the opposition.
He told The Northern Echo: “In attacking me - and the way they did it – they were actually undermining the message I was bringing from the community I represent, which was to hang on to the services that they value highly. So they weren’t even listening to the community.”
Mr Cronin said: “A draft report has been shared with us, which the CCG considers to be confidential as it is marked 'NOT FOR PUBLICATION'. Therefore we do not feel it is appropriate to comment on its findings at this time until we have fully considered its contents.”
The CCG is due to announce its preferred option on the future of children’s and maternity services tomorrow (Thursday, February 20).