The Commons Health Committee says that proper public consultation on the National Health Service will be undermined by “vague and woolly” legislation passing through parliament. The MPs criticised government proposals to limit public consultation on healthcare changes to “significant” proposals and decisions. The proposed changes are contained in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill, which is nearing the end of its passage through parliament. Consultation on NHS changes, such as the closure of maternity wards, was already a sham in some cases, the committee said. “Elsewhere, NHS bodies have sought to evade their duty to consult entirely,” it added. The Committee also made comment that Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, intervened too often in decisions after extensive local consultation, leading to illogical conclusions and undermining public confidence in the consultation process.
Judy Viitanen agrees with the MPs comments – let’s hope Patricia Hewitt and her team at the Department of Health take note of the Commons Health Select Committee’s views!