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Patient reps hit out at ‘stealth' NHS reorganisation

24/07/2017

Hackney patient representatives have penned a protest letter to health chiefs over NHS ‘reorganisation by stealth’ in north east London.

City and Hackney clinical commissioning group (CCG)’s patient and public involvement committee (PPI) wrote to the new East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP) in July expressing ‘deep concern’ about top-down plans for the local NHS.

The letter calls for the partnership to ‘cease further action’ until the plans are subject to ‘proper consultation processes’.

It warns failure to follow local scrutiny and consultation processes will put the new partnership in breach of the NHS Constitution.

The letter highlights ‘apparent weakening’ of local accountability structures and how the plans will lead to decisions affecting local people being taken ‘at such high level it will be impossible to hold decision makers to account’.

The CCG’s statutory duty to deliver services for the residents of City and Hackney would also be affected, it said.

The ELHCP was launched in July to drive through controversial north east London sustainability and transformation plans (NEL STP) which aim to cut £600m from NHS budgets across the area by 2020/21.

However the new partnership has no legal status, unlike CCGs.

The PPI letter calls on the plans to be subject to proper local scrutiny and consultation processes so the plans can be discussed in public.

‘The committee believes that anything short of this process would put you in breach of both the spirit and the letter of the NHS Constitution and NHS England Guidelines on Patient and Public Involvement,’ it added.

In June the council’s health in Hackney scrutiny commission warned that changes under the STP, including plans for a ‘single accountable officer’ for the whole of north east London, would erode local health service accountability.

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