Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Must Consult over Service Changes, Judge Rules

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Must Consult over Service Changes, Judge Rules

Article excerpt

The Department of Health cannot legally change the way NHS services are provided without first consulting the affected local population, a high court judge has ruled.

The judgment reinforces the statutory duty of NHS organisations to consult patients and the public - outlined in Section 11 of the 2001 Health and Social Care Act - at a time when the future of the existing Patient and Public Involvement forums are in doubt.

Commenting on the judgment, Sharon Grant, chair of the outgoing Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, asked: 'How does the NHS ensure the future of effective consultation... when one of the mechanisms - PPI forums - have a huge question mark hanging over their future?'

The case was brought to court by Pam Smith - a North East Derbyshire resident - to overturn her local primary care trust's decision to outsource local GP provision to the US-based United Health Group without public consultation. …

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