The reforms set out in Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS are underpinned by a clear commitment to increasing accountability and local democratic legitimacy in health. Strengthening health scrutiny is one element of this.
The regulations currently in force have, on the whole, served the system well. However, since the health scrutiny powers were introduced in 2003, NHS organisations, health services and local authorities have changed substantially, and the Health and Social Care Act 2012 will bring about further structural reforms. There is a need to bring the arrangements for health scrutiny into line with these changes.
This consultation sets out a number of proposals to strengthen and streamline the arrangements and regulations for local authority health scrutiny.
Why We Are Consulting
Our aim is to make sustainable changes that will support the structural reforms, make the NHS more accountable to local people and communities and enable health scrutiny to be conducted effectively, as part of local government’s wider responsibility in relation to health improvement and reducing health inequalities for their area and its inhabitants.
The changes proposed in this consultation will strengthen local accountability and help to ensure that the interests of patients and the public are at the heart of the planning, delivery and reconfiguration of health services.In preparing this consultation, the Department has discussed the range of possible options with representatives from the NHS, local authorities and patient and public representative groups. Their involvement has been helpful in developing the proposals.
The consultation runs until 7th September 2012. The consultation document can be downloaded below and sets out the rationale for our proposals. You are encouraged to read this document before responding
Your participation in this consultation will help us to ensure that new regulations, intended to come into force by April 2013, and any associated guidance will be successfully implemented.
What Happens Next
Once we have considered your views, a summary of the response to this consultation will be made available, before or alongside any further action, such as laying legislation before Parliament, and will be placed on the consultations website at http://www.dh.gov.uk/Consultations/Responsestoconsultations/index.htm
It is our intention to bring the new Regulations into effect from April 2013