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Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff today expressed genuine surprise at a government Minister’s decision not to give more time for decisions and public consultation on the proposed reorganisation of community health services in Worcestershire. Peter had submitted a parliamentary question on the issue to the Minister for Health Services, Mike O’Brien MP.
Peter said,

“I am very disappointed that the Minister is pursuing this course of action in the face of overwhelming opposition. Everyone I’ve talked to says exactly the same thing: Worcestershire PCT must be allowed to take this decision with the interests of local people in mind - not artificial government deadlines.

“Not only would these mergers would bring major and possibly ill-judged changes to Worcestershire’s healthcare, but the proposals themselves seem to have been drafted with very little thought of the implications for either patients or staff.

“The community hospitals in the county perform an invaluable service for local residents and I am completely unconvinced that changes to the management of these institutions would improve their performance. With only a few weeks to go before the PCT decides, the future of many services currently provided by the PCT remains unclear – and the proposal to merge some services with the Mental Health Trust could mean disruption for those services too.

“If the government feels compelled to take action, then there should be a full and candid appraisal of the options. Government Ministers must start considering the people who will be most affected by this decision. We need more time and we need more open consultation.”


The full text of the answer follows:

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to allow further time for NHS Worcestershire to consult on changes to the purchaser/provider split to enable local views to be taken fully into account before developing a preferred option for the delivery of community services; and if he will make a statement. [318586]
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There are no plans to extend the deadline set in the 'NHS Operating Framework 2010/11' for primary care trusts (PCTs) to agree their proposals for the future organisational form of all current PCT-provided community services with their strategic health authority.
When determining the timetable for planning and implementing proposals for the future form of PCT-provided community services, the Department took account of the need to create greater stability within community services to provide certainty for community service staff and a firm foundation for service transformation. Consideration was given to the pivotal role community services play in helping the national health service to meet the productivity and quality challenge. This will enable the NHS to accelerate service integration to deliver the vision of more integrated care delivered closer to home, as set out in 'NHS 2010-2015: from good to great. Preventative, people-centred, productive'.
The 'Operating Framework 2010/11' and 'NHS 2010-2015: from good to great. Preventative, people-centred, productive' have already been placed in the Library and are also available on the Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/index.htm


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