Thursday, 29 October 2009

Health Service democracy

Congratulations to John Pugh who has used Parliament to challenge the quangos that run our Health Service. Here in Southport the Tory Government forced a botched hospital plan on us forcing and unsustainable marriage of Southport and Ormskirk. There is no local accountability for the quangos that run our Health Service.. A couple of Tory politicians have been involved but nobody else.

As the blog noted recently it is not more consultation we need it is more democracy:

Take the NHS. 1.4 million staff, eclipsed for size only by the Chinese Liberation Army and the Indian Railway. Only accountable to one politician-the Secretary of State. He attempts by the issuing of banal and ineffective targets to micro manage the entire operation even down to targets on how to clean the carpets. His writ is enforce by a vast army of bean counters and by place men and women who sit on his local administration boards. The employ 'link' people to talk to the community so they know what local people want. Well more precisely what some people think of a bright idea the government is keen on. 'You want to spend your money differently to prioritise a children's A&E service? Sorry we are not programmed to respond to that comment, please answer the question you were asked. Do you want round carrots or straight ones.

John's parliamentary Bill confronts the democratic deficit, read on.

Local NHS Democracy

"The local NHS is a huge taxpayer-funded service, affects everyone, is important to everyone, but is sadly totally remote from democratic decision making."

These formed part of my opening remarks when I introduced the The Local Health Services and Democratic Involvement Bill to Parliament last week under the ten-minute rule .

Please take a minute to offer your support. The Bill seeks to require, among other things, Primary Care Trusts to obtain prior approval for their spending plans, involving relevant locally elected authorities. Currently, decisions are made by enlightened, but unelected, quangos or trusts, and they are usually a combination of medical experts and appointees who may or may not bring relevant expertise with them. They decide what drugs are available, which hospitals or hospital departments stay open, where services are, how GPs and dentists shape up, and what after-hours care exists.

All those issues mean a lot to some people part of the time, and much to all people most of the time. We just need to remind ourselves about Children's A&E to appreciate that point.I propose that primary care trusts, as currently constituted, lay before the health scrutiny committees of existing councils, as currently constituted, their annual plans and their big decisions - not for scrutiny or consultation, but for approval, agreement and amendment. I propose a kind of democratic lock on the local NHS: a move beyond mere consultation. I propose a genuine redistribution of power from one existing institution to another existing, established institution. This is such a good idea that I believe that the model has already been embraced voluntarily in some areas.

The rest is on John's website

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