NHS England has recommended a number of changes to legislation to make it easier to implement changes from the Long Term Plan at a regional level.
The Health Select Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the policy and decisions of the Department of Health and Social Care and its associated bodies, has held a series of evidence sessions with experts from across the sector to discuss the proposed changes.
In April, we submitted written evidence to the Committee outlining our position on the proposed changes. Our Chair, Sir Robert Francis QC also highlighted the importance of people's voices being heard at a regional level and the potential benefits this could bring, but there is a need for additional finance to make this happen.
The Health and Social Care Select Committee have agreed that ‘collaboration rather than competition’ is a better way for the NHS and the wider health and care system to respond to today’s challenges.
They have now published their report that sets out their views on how the proposals will impact patient choice, integration of services and leadership across the NHS.
It is also spells out the urgent need for more clarity on how communities will continue to have their say at all levels of decision making in the NHS.
Responding to the report, Chair of Healthwatch England, Sir Robert Francis QC, said:
“I am delighted to see the Committee acknowledge the vital role Healthwatch plays at the moment, giving communities across the country a strong voice in how their local hospitals, GP surgeries and care services are run.
“Yet I also share the Committee’s concerns that the proposals provide insufficient clarity about how residents will continue to have this level of influence in the even bigger decisions being made across the new Integrated Care Systems.
“We therefore, fully support the Committee’s suggestion to ‘mirror’ the existing mechanisms that are working well, and expand them to cover any new decision making structures being introduced by national leaders. This is the only way to support, encourage and empower local leadership to make informed decisions that will lead to the best possible care for local people.”