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All CCG decisions should be put out for public consultation, says Miliband

All CCG decisions would be put out for consultation by Health and Wellbeing Boards under plans to increase ‘public debate’ over how NHS resources are allocated, says Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Miliband said in a speech yesterday that the current NHS structure ‘isn’t working’ and that the Labour Party will introduce changes to ensure the patient’s voice is heard if elected in 2015.

The move would end a current approach of ‘decisions taken behind closed doors’ and hand power to patients, he said at the annual Hugo Young lecture.

The text of the speech - released by the Labour Party - appears to contradict plans announced by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham that Labour would strip CCGs of commissioning budgets and hand these directly to health and wellbeing boards.

But the speech refered to prior promises made by Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham that the party will ‘repeal’ the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

Mr Miliband said: ‘The problem with the current approach is that it creates a dynamic of decisions taken behind closed doors, lacking legitimacy, with little public debate about the real reasons a change is being proposed. Clinicians, managers and patients across the NHS know the system we have isn’t working. We need to find far better ways of hearing the patient voice.’

He added: ‘A Labour government will ensure that patients are involved right at the outset: understanding why change might be needed, what the options are and making sure everyone round the table knows what patients care about No change could be proposed by a CCG without patient representatives being involved in drawing up the plan.

‘Then when change is proposed, it should be an independent body, such as the Health and Wellbeing Board, that is charged with consulting with the local community. Not, as happens now, the hospital trust or commissioning group that is seeking the change.’

He added that a Labour government will reverse the controversial 118 clause to be included in the Care Bill that will allow the Government to change the law to allow it to reconfigure successful hospitals without the support of CCGs, after it was reprimanded in a recent High Court case.

He said: ‘We will seek to stop and will, if necessary, reverse the attempts by government, to legislate for the Secretary of State to have the power to change services across whole regions without proper consultation. This is just one example of how we can involve people in the key decisions that affect their lives.’

‘Not saying change will never happen. But saying no change will happen without people having their say.’

Professor Sir John Oldham, the former GP who has led a review on health policies for Labour, will be outlining the party’s plans for healthcare ‘in the coming months’, Mr Miliband added.

Readers' comments (14)

  • This sounds like a wonderful idea - right up with 'No more top down re-organisation' promised by the Tories.

    We have just started to make some progress with the huge re-organisation, and CCGs are just starting to get a grip of the budgets finally handed to them, when the next Labour plan is to throw it all out again.

    Primary care just needs some time to settle and work out a way to make things work. The CCGs have led to closer working relationships in our area, which could be used to provide improved outcomes and patient care.

    Repealing a some of the Health care bill - like the 118 clause, and the need to farm out everything to tender are useful, but otherwise let things continue as some progress is being made to tackle the problems the NHS is facing.

    We need less centralised Red tape and to allow local changes to allow more innovation.

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  • Nothing like a bit of public consultation to grind everything to a total halt

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  • actually i think he may be onto something - currently there is an adversarial environment with patient groups screaming for their slice of the cake. why not let the public/taxpayer/society share in decision making. in fact why not go further and make the public responsible for the decisions they make.

    have you noticed in asda after you shop you are given a token for you to choose which charity you want asda to support. imagine what it is going to be like when the public has to choose which areas need to be funded and bear some responsibility for the choice. will they choose more spending on mental health and less on emergency care for example. it will give the public a taste of the difficult no win situations that are currently made. and if the fall out is negative they can't go running to the daily mail as they would have made the decision themselves.

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  • All our significant decisions are presented to the CCG Governing Body for discussion, debate and agreement. Governing Body meetings are open to the public. Could someone tell Mr Bean the way it works.

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  • CCGs have only got another 18-24 months anyway. What Milliband is proposing will stop what little significant change CCGs have managed to achieve

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  • Bob Hodges

    Dear Emperor Nero

    Sorry to interupt your violin practice (yes that is a nice tune), but can you smell smoke?

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  • Who's for elected Health and Social Care Commissioners as per the police? Surely that's the way things are heading?

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  • This is an excellent idea. Let's make a cumbersome process ever more cumbersome.

    And we can put all of the decisions out to consultation - like should we commission an A+E service from the local A+E Department? Or should we commission an emergency surgical service from the local hospital? That way, when your appendix is ready to burst but no contract has been agreed, at least you can be happy that the public have had their say.

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  • There's just no point in voting in the next election becasue I have no faith that the NHS (or anything else for that matter) will be in good hands with any party!

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  • Catherine Cross

    Laudable but hugely bureaucratic. Politicians should rightly set policy but leave the execution to the people who have to execute. The process starts much earlier on with really understanding what patients and the people who support them need.(carers and professionals). The issue currently is that we pay lip service to asking them - asking them through representative groups whom often have a vested interest in retaining funding. I think we would all be surprised about how little patients really want and how relatively inexpensive and simple solutions could be.

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