Sir Mike Penning calls for Parliamentary debate on NHS consultations following the lack of consultation by West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust in advance of the recently-announced downgrading of the Urgent Care Centre in Hemel Hempstead.
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?
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.