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SUCCESS OF NEW HEALTH BILL WILL DEPEND ON LOCAL PEOPLE BEING HEARD

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Local people must be heard to help ensure the new NHS reforms work, said LGA leaders today. ...
Local people must be heard to help ensure the new NHS reforms work, said LGA leaders today.

Responding to the proposals in the NHS Reform Bill published today, LGA leaders stressed that ensuring links to existing systems of consultation together with independent overview and scrutiny of the NHS by local people and democratically elected local councils was vital in helping to deliver the success and the coherence in the government's plans to reform the NHS.

Cllr Rita Stringfellow, chair of the LGA's social affairs and health executive said: `I am delighted that ministers have put patients at the heart of these new reforms. However there needs to be a clearer framework for how the PALS, Commission For Patient And Public Involvement and Patient' Forums will work together.

`These new bodies must have robust connections to the overview and scrutiny function. Getting this right is fundamental to ensuring that the new structures meet the needs of patients and citizens. The LGA has always pressed for reformed and refocused community health councils for it is vital we do not lose the expertise that has been built up over many years within these bodies.

`The LGA will be urging ministers to issue guidance for consultation over a six-month period, which would enable local authorities and their key partners in the NHS to pilot the processes and for this experience to be fed into the final version of the regulations and guidance', she said.
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