Miliband pledges “a real say” for patients and communities on NHS changes

10th February, 2014 6:00 pm

Most of the detail of Ed Miliband’s Hugo Young lecture was released overnight – Mark summarised the key points of the speech this morning, and we’ve also published some of the key extracts. But it was clear that something was being held back for this evening. Indeed, it’s the keynote announcement from the speech – Ed Miliband will pledge to give patients a “real say” in changes to NHS services in their local area, as part of the devolution of power away from the centre that was briefed out in advance of the speech.

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Miliband will argue that patients and local people lack a real say in tphe configuration (and reconfiguration) of NHS services. That’s especially important when local hospitals are threatened, or when A&E services are threatened with closure. If a local community feel something vital is being removed, there’s nothing that an aloof NHS bureaucracy can argue otherwise. What Miliband will promise is:

  • For the first time patients and the public will be given a seat at the table from the very start of any process that draws up plans for change.
  • NHS Commissioners, will be stripped of their role in organising public consultation. Those powers will be handed to a properly independent body comprised of patient groups and local authorities.
  • Conservative-driven centralisation will be rolled back with the repeal of powers which the Government wants to grant Ministers so they can bypass proper procedures and order sweeping changes across whole regions

NHS changes are never going to be popular – but at least this means local people can be involved in designing the services they’ll receive in future.

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