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Paper 3A - 24 November 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

24 November 2000

JOINT WORKING WITH THE HEALTH SERVICE

Background note by the Policy Manager

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RECOMMENDATION

That Members consider liaison with the NHS in the light of the presentation.

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BACKGROUND

1. Winchester City Council asked the Association to review the joint planning arrangements with Health, in the light of recent problems particularly in the North and Mid Hampshire Area.

PRESENTATION

2. Gareth Cruddace, Chief Executive of the North and Mid Hampshire Health Authority, has re-arranged his commitments to address this Association meeting together with Hampshire Social Services.

3. The presentation will cover:

* The Governmentís NHS Plan

* The North and Mid Hampshire Health Authority public consultation: "Meeting the Challenge"

* Future direction of NHS and Social Services partnerships in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

* The new joint local authority - NHS planning arrangements, set up since the Association welcomed the Public Health White Paper in September 1999.

LOCAL AUTHORITY SCRUTINY ROLE

4. One aspect of the NHS Plan which there will not be time to cover in the presentation is the proposed local authority scrutiny role.

5. The NHS Plan recognises that local authorities - as they modernise - are an important democratically elected tier of government and an effective channel for the views of local people. In this context the Government proposes that local government should be given the power to scrutinise the NHS locally. The Chief Executives of NHS organisations will be required to attend all-party scrutiny committees at least twice annually.

6. It would also be open to local authorities to invite other experts or interest groups to attend to inform the discussion and decision-making process.

7. In addition to this scrutiny role - which will give local authorities a real and effective role in championing the interests of their communities - it is also proposed that the power to refer major planned changes in local NHS services to the Secretary of State be transferred from unelected community health councils to the scrutiny committees of elected local authorities.

8. Council scrutiny committees will also be able to refer contested major service reconfigurations to a proposed new Independent Reconfiguration Panel, subject to clear criteria on the definition of major service changes.

9. Further changes are proposed to the mechanisms for enabling patients and citizens to become more involved in health service decision-making at every level. These will include a requirement to create a Patientsí Forum in every NHS and Primary Care Trust and, through the Forum, direct representation on trust boards. The Forum will be supported by a patient advocate and liaison service which will have the right to visit and inspect any aspect of the trustís care at any time.

10. Health authorities will also be required to establish an independent local advisory forum chosen from local residents to provide a sounding board for determining health priorities and policies including the Health Improvement Programme.

11. Against this background, and in particular the involvement of democratically elected members in the scrutiny process, the Plan proposes that community health councils be abolished.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 10 November 2000
Annex: 0
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiowlang@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 22/11/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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