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17th September 2012
Making sure the public voice is heard
I got involved as the independent chair of the Patient and Public Advisory Group on the Healthier Together Programme to make sure that members of the public have their voice heard as the programme develops and in the formal consultation.
We are fortunate here in the South East Midlands that our hospital consultants and GPs, whom we all rely upon, are working together in the Healthier Together programme to see how they can best maintain clinical quality and safety in a changing world.
It would have been easier for them just to get on with their busy day jobs rather than tackle issues that are just around the corner. But, faced with a rising and ageing population, reducing budgets, a shortage of experienced hospital consultants in certain specialities and advances in medical science that mean so much more can be done to save lives, it was clear a long and careful look at how services could be delivered was needed.
This is not a quick fix, nor can it be.
The NHS must continue to deliver safe and effective services 24/7. At present the clinicians, who deliver our services, have developed ‘models of care’ that are being very carefully examined. This is an on-going process that has to be evidence-based. We must provide high quality, safe and effective health care services that are accessible and can be delivered over the next decade and beyond.
We are not at a decision point. There is still a great deal of work to be done.
We know that whatever is proposed will have to be firmly evidence-based. Only when we are able to put forward options that we know will work will we start the formal public consultation, lasting many weeks. Until that time we will continue to talk to people about the Healthier Together programme so they are kept informed of our proposals and have opportunities to put forward their views.’
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