Success on Hospital Consultations
Today there were a number of votes in the care bill. It is our view that local consultation is key when it comes to running the health service. There were many people that opposed the health reforms wanting the health service to be run by the Minister and the Minister's appointees. Our view, however, was that it was better to bring in health service reforms to Clinical Commissioning Groups to give local control rather than central control.
In the Care Bill today there was a discussion about how to deal with services in crisis. Quite a few of the Lib Dems were unhappy that the original proposals moved too far away from the principle of local consultation. Hence Paul Burstow tabled a new clause (known as New Clause 16) to promote local consultation.
During this process there were a large number of negotiations headed up by Paul Burstow. I am pleased to say that considerble progress was made. As a consequence of this the signatories of his new clause did not press the new clause (although the Labour Party did).
Tomorrow it will be possible to see in Hansard the speech of the minister making all the changes clear.
A raft of checks and balances will be introduced to make sure that changes to local hospital services are not made without local people being able to have their say. These include:
- Making sure that this process is only used in the most extreme cases, after all other options are tried
- Councils and the patients forum Healthwatch must be consulted as the representatives of local people
- The plans must have agreement of all relevant local health commissioners
Liberal Democrat Paul Burstow MP will be chairing a committee of MPs and Lords to ensure these changes are secured.