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Kwasi Kwarteng MP

HOUSE OF COMMONS
th
29 March 2011
LONDON SWIA OAA

Dear Ms C

Thank you for your email of21 st March in support ofthe 'My NHS' Campaign.

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Health and Social Care Bill for ensuring public and patient involvement in decision-making of the
NHS Commissioning Board and GP consortia. This is mistaken. The Bill places a duty on GP
consortia and the NHS Commissioning Board to ensure that people who receive a service are involved
in its planning and development, and to promote and extend public and patient involvement and
choice.

One of the principal aims of GP commissioning is to make decisions about the provision of services
more responsive to the needs and wishes of patients and the public. Good communication and
engagement with the public will be vital to the commissioning process

To further support public accountability, consortia will also be required to make public their
remuneration arrangements, to hold an annual general meeting that is open to anyone, make their
commissioning plans available to the public, and publish an annual report that includes consideration
of how well they have discharged their new joint arrangements with local authorities. The annual
report will also be the place where GP consortia reflect the patient and public consultations that have
taken place.

I believe that the campaign also states that there will be no meaningful opportunity for the public and
patients to have a say in the running of their local consortia. This is also untrue. Ministerial meetings
with GP leaders show there is a commitment to patient and public involvement within emerging GP
consortia and a desire to keep existing structures that have worked well, as well as a desire to forge
strong links with the new local HealthWatch, which will replace the existing Local Involvement
Networks. Local HealthWatch organisations will be supported by a new independent consumer
champion, HealthWatch England, which the Government proposes to establish and locate in the Care
Quality Commission. Through developing this new relationship, GP consortia can make use of
information and intelligence on patient experience to provide better outcomes for the public.

However, the Government does not plan to prescribe the precise mechanisms by which the
Commissioning Board or consortia need to engage with the public. It wants to ensure that the focus is
on developing behaviours and cultures that will encourage and facilitate public involvement and
patient voice in the commissioning and development of health services.

I hope this is helpful in addressing some of your concerns. As you know, we do not yet have a date for
the Third Reading of the Bill, but I will keep your comments in mind when we do have the
. opportunity to debate the Bill further.

Yours sincerely

Kwasi Kwarteng - Working For Spelthorne


~ kwasLkwarteng.mp@parliament.uk