Any reforms to the NHS must follow the key principle that decisions on all publicly funded commissioning and provision should be taken by publicly accountable and open bodies, and should be subject to local authority scrutiny.
We welcome the Government’s confirmation that that health scrutiny should remain independent from the executive, and that both commissioning bodies and Health and Wellbeing Boards will be subject to scrutiny by local authority scrutiny committees.
There is a need for proper governance and transparency of commissioning consortia and of Health and Wellbeing Boards, with a broad membership including elected councillors and representatives of other health professions, not just GPs; and they need to be subject to independent scrutiny, regardless of the composition of their boards.
Further, in addition to the important role of HealthWatch enabling engagement if the wider community, patients and the public need to be involved effectively at every level from the strategic Health and Wellbeing Board, to actual service delivery.
You can see our response to the NHS Future Forum here – NHS FF response