Petitions may force NHS reviews26th October 2006
Patients could soon have the power to force a review of their health services simply by signing a petition.
The Department of Health has suggested petitions signed by as little as 250 people could trigger a review of NHS trusts and service providers. Alternatively the figure could be set at 1% of the community served by the trust, or 10% of its patients.
If the reviews uncovered problems which meant services or providers were unsatisfactory, PCTs would have to tender for an alternative provider, using local government's 'best value' principles.
Trusts would also need to find ways to discourage trivial, repetitive or vexatious petitions and ensure that children and marginalised members of the community have their say.
One option is for the community petitions to be set up and run by local involvement networks (Links), which would replace patient forums. The networks would act as a contact point for NHS organisations to measure public opinion and allow the public to express their views of local services.
Links could also carry out local NHS-funded research and would include representatives from voluntary groups and community organisations, as well as other interested individuals.
Strategic health authorities and patient and public involvement groups have been asked to comment on the proposals and the final draft will be published in December as part of the new NHS operating framework.
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Title: Petitions may force NHS reviews
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 983
Date Added: 26th Oct 2006