January 14, 2013 by Protect Our NHS
Dear Health Overview Scrutiny Panel,
We are writing to you as a group of concerned residents in North Somerset regarding the North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which, as you will know, is being put in place over the next months to replace the Primary Care Trust system of the NHS.
Like many people in the country and here in North Somerset, we are concerned about the reforms introduced by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, and how they will be implemented and monitored. We know your panel will be aware of these reforms, but we would be very grateful if you would consider our concerns which we believe are key to protecting the NHS against fragmentation and cherry-picking by private providers that may have little knowledge or experience of the needs of our local communities.
In particular, we believe it is important that the CCG constitution includes ethical and moral considerations when commissioning decisions are made, in addition to financial ones. We are also keen that local people and patients are well informed, consulted and any decisions made are open and transparent. In order to reflect the needs and concerns of local people, the following key principles should form part of the CCG’s constitution and operation:
- Transparency, accountability.
- Socially responsible procurement.
- Considering whole-life cost and quality of services, and not only immediate value for money.
- Involvement of local people and service users in the decision-making and monitoring processes.
- Preventing conflicts of interest.
- Not offering services to the private sector unless other options (such as continuing NHS provision) have been fully considered.
We understand that the British Medical Association has drafted a ‘fair commissioning charter’ along similar lines.
We would be grateful if you would respond to this letter and let us know that you are concerned for the future of the NHS in North Somerset and that you would be willing to liaise with us and report your support to the Lay Chairman of the North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.
For your information our local group of campaigners, which include GPs, teachers, scientists, local media and business people has now held two meetings dedicated to this issue (‘Protect North Somerset NHS’). Our NHS is precious, and we are relying on the North Somerset CCG to protect it.
We met initially because we are supporters of the 38 Degrees organisation whose petition calling for the protection of local NHS services has gathered more than 600,000 signatures nationally and over 1,000 in North Somerset.
We would of course be happy to discuss this further with you.
For and on behalf of
Protect North Somerset NHS (By E Mail)