Community must have bigger say in NHS reforms

Posted on: 20th May 2011

Originally posted on 09.07.2010

Andrew George, who is a member of the new Health Select Committee in Parliament, will caution the Health Secretary against transferring too much power to GPs and therefore weakening the influence of local communities and their representatives.??Mr George has supported the Coalition Government’s commitment to “stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS which have got in the way of patient care” and the commitment to “a stronger voice for patients locally through directly elected individuals on the Boards of their local Primary Care Trust. The remainder of the PCT’s Board will be appointed by the relevant local authority”.??However, in the Health White Paper to be published next week Mr George has expressed concern that the PCT’s role will be significantly diminished and replaced with new GP commissioning bodies which might be tantamount to a significant Whitehall-led reorganisation. He also warned that directly elected and local authority representatives on the PCT could find themselves elected/appointed to a body whose powers have been neutered as commissioning GPs take greater control.??Mr George said, “The Coalition Government is right to commit itself to resisting any further ‘top-down reorganisations of the NHS’. But this needs to be followed through and not overridden by a major upheaval in the local management of the NHS directed from Whitehall. “Local communities and patient groups have become very frustrated and have felt ignored as PCTs and Strategic Health Authorities have made decisions about the future of local hospitals and services whilst merely going through the motions of public consultations before going ahead with their plans anyway. “GPs have an important role to play, but it is the local community which should have the biggest say about the overall shape of the health service in their own community and how the resources which they provide are utilised.”