More Accountability

Liberal Democrats have just voted overwhelmingly in favour of amendments to a conference policy motion on the NHS.   Included in the amendments were references to more democratically accountable commissioning, greater transparency for NHS commissioning, for commissioning to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and that there should be a focus on co-operation not competition.

We made these points in our submission in response to the White Paper, including concerns about the co-terminosity between GP commissioning and local authority areas and the issue of GP commissioners making decisions in private – proper consultation and scrutiny must be part of the process.

Check out our submission on our Health page.

Transparency and Accountability

The focus of the current debate on whether the government’s NHS reforms hasten the privatisation of the NHS, is missing the point.

The important thing is not who the provider of a service is, but to ensure the transparency, accountability and scrutiny of the spending of public money.

We are pleased that the government recognised the importance of independent scrutiny, and amended their original proposals to ensure that GP commissioning will be subject to local authority scrutiny – this is something that we, along with many others – proposed in our response to the White Paper.

Our response to the consultation can be found on the Health page.

Tamarind highlights accountability as key issue

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.

HealthWhitePaper response

The report and other analysis and briefing materials about the Health White Paper can be found on the Health  page.