Patient forum 'will fail'25th January 2007
New legislation to improve patient involvement has taken another step towards becoming law amid predictions of its failure.
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill will abolish patients’ forums and replace them with local involvement networks (Links).
The bill, currently on its second reading through parliament, will introduce ‘community petitions’ which could trigger service reviews if they receive enough support from patients.
They will also have powers to carry out inspections and work across health and social care boundaries.
But doctors’ leaders are predicting Links will fail because of insufficient funding and poor structures.
The British Medical Association said the current legislation left too much room for interpretation that would inevitably lead to variations across the country.
The suggested £100,000 to £150,000 funding will not cover costs, while the geographical grouping would mean there were fewer bodies representing patients.
It comes as an amendment to the bill sets out increased power for local authorities by devolving central government jurisdiction to local government.
Among the changes, scrutiny committees in local councils will be given new powers to examine the performance of public service providers, including the NHS.
During its second reading in the Commons, opposition MPs raised their concerns over how independent or representative the Links will be, predicting a conflict of interest because local authorities already control social care.
Concern was also raised over the loss of the community health councils that made way for the forums, but handed over power of dealing with complaints to NHS organisations.
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Friday 2nd February 2007 @ 17:35
I would just like to comment that some individuals are what I term professional patients; they belong to every forum & Group going, they increasingly become institutionlised by their continual engagement with the same people from their Trusts & local Councils and lose the ability to really represent patient interests.
In the end some forums are just an extension of the old boys networks ex councillors, ex non Exec Directors, ex Local Authority employees who just can't bear not to be in a committee of some sort.
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Title: Patient forum 'will fail'
Author: Carol burns
Article Id: 1831
Date Added: 25th Jan 2007