Tamarind Chambers has issued its response to the Coalition Government’s Health White Paper. The report, led by Mike Cooper, focuses specifically on democratic accountability, scrutiny and governance. Whilst welcoming the general aims of the White Paper to make the NHS more patient centred and give citizens a greater say, the report questions whether this will really be achieved by these proposals.
It concludes that more needs to be done to give citizens, as distinct from patients, an effective voice and the autonomy and freedom must be tempered by transparency and effective local accountability.
The Tamarind report identifies that the White Paper:
- is insufficiently clear about the governance arrangements for the proposed GP Commissioning Consortia
- fails to establish how real local accountability will be achieved
- fails to demonstrate how the local authority/wellbeing boards will exercise its strategic control or have any real say over local NHS commissioning decisions and service provision
- fails to go far enough to join up health and social care services and actually makes NHS and other public health services less joined-up
- places an over-reliance on the market and competition which could stifle co-operation and undermine transparency and accountability
The Tamarind report strongly recommends that GP Commissioning Consortia will require more rigorous governance and clear local accountability and that the power of local authorities to scrutinise NHS decisions and services on behalf of their local community should be retained.
The report also raises concerns about the extent and speed of the changes and calls for continued dialogue and consultation as the proposals are developed and implemented.
The report and other analysis and briefing materials about the Health White Paper can be found on the Health page.