Keep Our NHS Public
The following question was asked by a Calderdale SOS Supporter at the Calderdale Council Cabinet Meeting on Monday 10 December 2012:
“As Chair of Calderdale Health and Wellbeing Board, will the Leader of the Council share the widely held concerns about the amount of power that NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups have to privatise large parts of the Health Service? Will the Leader sign the 38 Degrees petition calling on NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group to protect the NHS is Calderdale? Will the Leader urge the NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group to adopt the amendments to their constitution designed to protect the NHS that have been drawn up by specialist lawyers for 38 Degrees? Will Calderdale Health and Wellbeing Board respond favourably to future requests to address its meetings from members of the public concerned about matters regarding the Health Service?”
The answer we received is as follows:
“I am aware of the 38 degrees petition and the guide that has been produced for Clinical Commissioning Groups – “Protecting our NHS together”. However, the Calderdale CCG has already submitted its constitution to the National Commissioning Board and has received authorisation, so there is limited scope at present to make amendments to the CCG constitution at the current time.
“As I said in my answer to the question (about Horton House) at full Council, I want to make sure that there is also careful consultation with the existing users at Horton Street, and I am happy to meet with them as part of this consultation process.
“The Health and Wellbeing Board having a duty to promote joint commissioning and integration of Council and NHS services, and I therefore believe it would not be appropriate for me as Chair of the Board to sign the 38 Degrees petition or express concern at the role and responsibility provided to the Clinical Commissioning Group. As an individual and as leader of the Labour group, I do understand and share many of the concerns expressed by 38 Degrees.
“I also endorse the principles set out in the Labour party’s health pledge, and will be working to ensure that these are reflected in all our discussions at the Health and Wellbeing Board. These include:-
“As Chair of Calderdale’s Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board and Leader of the Council, I seek to work closely with the CCG, its representative on the Board and other partners within the legislative framework laid down by Parliament to ensure that the best possible health and social care services are provided for the residents of Calderdale.
“The Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board has held its meetings in public since being established in June 2011 and opportunities have been provided for members of the public to raise any issues with the Board. As the Board becomes a statutory Committee of the Council then it will become subject to the transparency provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. Any additional arrangements to involve the public in the Board’s meetings will need to be agreed with Board members. These will be considered as part of the transition to a statutory Council Committee in April 2013.”