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Petition

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Observations

Health

Reform of Health Services (Wycombe)

The Petition of residents of Wycombe,

Declares that the petitioners are concerned and unhappy about the continuing loss of control in the hospital services that are in the constituency; and notes that, in recent years, the petitioners have witnessed the closure of Accident and Emergency, the temporary closure of the maternity unit, and the potential loss of urology services at Wycombe Hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Health to take steps to ensure that the constituents of Wycombe are given the freedom to use the latest health reforms to work towards fair funding, make the hospital subject to greater local control, and that clinical staff have freedom from centralised planning and targets.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. -[Presented by Steve Baker , Official Report, 31 January 2011; Vol. 522, c. 705-706.]

[P000881]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

Our reforms are about putting patients and the public at the heart of the NHS-and involving people more in decisions about their local services is fundamental to this.

The Health and Social Care Bill, presented to Parliament on 19 January 2011, sets out our proposals for transforming the quality of services by devolving decision-making to local groups of GP practices, supported by and accountable to an independent NHS Commissioning Board. The
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amount of time they spend with patients means that GPs understand their communities better than anyone, and are best placed to ensure patients get the care they need.

To further embed public involvement in commissioning, the Bill contains duties for NHS commissioners around the involvement of patients and the public in how services are designed and the promotion of shared decision-making and choice.

We want to make sure that patients and the public have a strong voice both at a local and national level, so we are creating a new consumer champion. Health Watch. Providing national leadership from within the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Health Watch England will have an influential role in feeding local knowledge and concerns about services to CQC. Local Health Watch organisations will build on the work of existing LINks, but with greater responsibility and enhanced funding.

In addition, we want all NHS trusts to be foundation trusts by 1 April 2014, and we are strengthening foundation trusts' governance to increase transparency and accountability to the governors and membership and the wider public.

The petition calls for greater freedom for clinical staff. Our plans will dramatically increase the freedom that practitioners have, removing unnecessary top-down targets and enabling them to focus on what really matters: improving patient outcomes. We are also liberating providers from unnecessary restrictions that prevent them from innovating and responding to local needs.

We agree that funding for local health services should be fair. The NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for the allocation of the majority of NHS resources from 2013-14. The Board will make allocations to GP consortia on the basis that all areas secure equal access to NHS services relative to the prospective burden of disease and disability. It will be for the NHS Commissioning Board to decide how to determine the amount to allocate.

The particular issues raised about hospital services in Wycombe are local matters and my Department will therefore bring the petition to the attention of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.


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