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Scotland Plans for a Local Healthcare Bill
Article Type: News and views From: Leadership in Health Services, Volume 21, Issue 2.
A consultation got under way today on plans for greater public involvement in the NHS and direct elections to health boards.
The proposed Local Healthcare Bill will seek to enhance the role patients and the public play in decisions about how local health services are designed and delivered. The consultation asks for views on how this might best be done.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said: “The consultation on the Local Healthcare Bill, which starts today, is part of our drive to improve public and community involvement in the work of NHS boards. Some recent decisions to change the way NHS services in Scotland are delivered have raised strong feeling in local communities and many people believe that some NHS Boards have not taken sufficient account of the views of local people.
“The Scottish Government understands that difficult decisions about NHS services have to be made. We also believe, however, that local people must always be at the heart of the process, and that the process for any service changes must be rigorous, evidence-based and open to scrutiny”.
“The consultation is part of our drive to improve public and community involvement with NHS Boards. The consultation is divided into two parts the first seeks views on how existing processes could be strengthened to enhance public involvement, and the second part asks for views on introducing direct elections to health boards”.
“This consultation does not stand alone it is part of our commitment to a mutual NHS which I announced in Parliament on December 12 last year. As part of this commitment, the Local Healthcare Bill will make a huge impact on increasing public involvement in the NHS”.
Subject to the results of the consultation, it is planned to introduce the Local Healthcare Bill this summer.
Brian Beacom, Chairman of the Scottish Health Council, said: “As the lead organisation for ensuring that patients, carers and the public have a real say in health services, the Scottish Health Council welcomes this consultation, which aims to bring about greater public involvement in the running and delivery of health services. We support any initiatives that encourage greater engagement between NHS Boards and the public, and this consultation provides an opportunity for people to help shape health services in Scotland.”
The consultation runs until 1 April and is part of the implementation of the Better Health, Better Care Action Plan.
A separate consultation was recently begun on how best to arrange independent scrutiny of proposals to change NHS services.
For further information: www.scotland.gov.uk/news/