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27th November 2012
Steve Lowden is the independent chair of the Patient & Public Advisory Group
I am really looking forward to the first of our Clinical Summits next week. These will give more local clinicians an opportunity to review and consider the draft reports from the six clinical working group and how we can take forward Healthier Together for the benefit of our communities.
While I tend to think that health reforms should be left to health professionals that really know what they are doing, I am delighted with the mature approach of local politicians, from all parties towards Healthier Together.
Only last week Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s shadow minister for care and older people, in a speech to an NHS managers' conference, recognised that:
“The truth is that far more fundamental (NHS) reform is vital if we’re going to meet the challenges of demographic and social change.”
She went on to announce that:
“Whilst changes to local hospital services will always be difficult, Labour will not have a policy of blanket opposition to hospital reconfigurations… we will judge every proposal on its merits: whether it saves more lives, reduces disabilities, and improves the quality of care. The clinical case must be made and supported by the evidence, if the public as well as local MPs are to be convinced.”
Such comments are very welcome. Healthier Together aims to provide the most effective and efficient way of delivering modern health services that serve the needs of local people. We will, in time, put forward proposals for public consultation on reconfiguring health services in the South East Midlands that are clinically led, are safe and sustainable.
No hospitals will close. Northampton, Kettering, Milton Keynes, Luton & Dunstable and Bedford will all continue to provide most local services
All five hospitals will have an A&E and maternity service
Our first priority is safe, sustainable, high quality services
Our recommendations will be based on clinical evidence and local need