Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

127. Evidence submitted by Mr U Hawtin (PPI 57)

1.  The Purpose

  If the national Health Service is to provide a credible and acceptable service then there needs to be A SYSTEM providing for a means of two way communication which is capable of providing a credible procedure and understanding, two ways, between the providers and the patients. Not only to inform as to the needs and desires; opportunity to submit, comment and criticise but also to convey compliments and gratitude.

2.  The Form

  The system needs to provide for auditing to ensure it works, to ensure credibility and that notice is taken of it. It must provide for cross representation of the public, independence of Dept. of Health and other governing bodies, both Central, National and local government. There must be partnership, close working and a good relationship and just going through the motions or establishing a peasant and lord of the manor approach is not acceptable.

  2(a)  In my opinion and experience, the elimination of Community Health Councils was a mistake and has been shown to be based on political party and Government desires to reduce the involvement of patient and publics, except when an election is in the offing. It has been demonstrated that none of the replacements have shown to be an advancement in the 3 issue. Not only in the membership then represented but in the Council employing appropriate staff to perform the functions that they decide they are capable of. Not necessarily a Commission employing a middle man organisation of persons appointed by any other Commission. (Appointments) Certainly the majority need to be established from those citizens who already have or are willing to experience working for or in voluntary and charitable institutions with experience of health systems even in a lay capacity. Many of whom have experienced the problems and traumas of involvement in health systems.

  2(b)  If it is to be that most of them if not all will be expected to participate as unpaid volunteers, apart perhaps from the Chairman then this organisation should be empowered to avail themselves of professional administration and organisational staff and deal with their own budget, as well as being empowered to co-opt members (As full members or just for a particular exercise). There exist only too many departments and bodies who are willing and able(?) to give advice and some form of supervision in regard to efficiency and financial matters ( Not always efficiently). It surely is a system that provides value for money.

3.  Existing Reform

  The present course of reformation is just a continuation of the disease that seems to have effected the Health Service for many years. The perception is that either those in authority do not know the answers or are prevented by party dogma from taking the steps that have been identified as being needed and are expressed at the moment as a close working relationship, partnership working, transparency etc etc, but which the authority is not willing to take.

4.  LINks

  Again it is noticeable that someone seems to think that the answer is provided by a reorganisation. Another disease that the Health Service suffers from; devise a new gimmick or a new buzz word. Why is not possible to retain a title that everyone is just getting to know and recognise? Is it done in order to provide a placebo for local government bodies and to keep the political party structure in place.

  4(a)  The next six bullet points, from the press release, simply repeat the philosophy that seems to have been established over the rules by the academics and administrators. Establish rules, constitutions, then the administrators and the supervisors are not required to operate whatever personal skills they have but can quote the rules, which are so often restrictive, so as to remove from them any danger that their ideas may not be acceptable to their political bosses. This should be simple and not complicated but should be devised in such a manner as to allow the organisation room to breathe, to evolve and change in such a manner that new legislation is not always necessary That would often avoid the debates(?) that occur between political parties and members usually to the detriment of the voters.

5.  National Coordination

  I am not sure that national co-ordination, whatever that means, is necessary apart from perhaps a circulation of good and identified practice and providing a convenient system for the administrators. Cannot the Resource Centre provide that. Experience certainly seems to show that problems that concern the patients and the public are local(?). Are not the needs local, the patients and the public live in localities it is only the need for specialist skills which are best served by specialist centres.

Mr Hawtin

January 2007

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