Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning has roundly condemned Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for riding roughshod over local public opinion and for being in breach of the law.
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 CCGs are required to ensure public involvement and consultation in changes to the commissioning arrangements of health services which could have an impact on services available.
Sir Mike Penning said:
“It’s quite simple. The CCG hasn’t done it. They are downgrading our Urgent Care Centre without consultation. They are closing Nascot Lawns without consultation. They cannot do this. Local people must be involved.
“Healthcare decisions were, rightly, taken out of politicians hands as they should be clinical and not political decisions. The consultation process was set up to ensure that local people were still involved. Herts Valleys CCG have binned that and are going ahead knowing that there is no way we can hold them to account. It simply is not acceptable.
“I cannot understand how they think they can take the public for granted on this.”
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Sir Mike called for a Parliamentary debate on NHS consultations.
“A year ago, I and my constituents were furious when the urgent care centre in my constituency was closed overnight. We were categorically promised by the Chief Executive of the acute trust that that was temporary—if it was not temporary, it would be illegal, because the trust had not consulted. It still has not consulted, we are a year on and the trust is looking to downgrade the centre. Can we have a debate on the way consultations work—or, frankly, do not work—in our constituencies?”
Leader of the House, the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP said:
“My right hon. Friend raises what sounds like an extremely worrying development. He will be aware that all significant service change proposals must meet the Government’s four reconfiguration tests of support from clinical commissioners, clinical evidence, patient and public engagement, and support for patient choice. Additional NHS England guidance is that proposed changes should be tested for their impact on overall bed numbers in the area. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise this issue. He may wish to take it up at Health oral questions or through an Adjournment debate for his hospital.”
Sir Mike will now apply for an Adjournment debate on this.
Jon Wedger is about to embark on a walk from London to Manchester to raise funds and awareness.