Campaigners' concern over Government White Paper proposing NHS reform

Health campaigners expressed concerns about the new Government White Paper which proposes reforming the National Health Service.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 9:00 am

The Government says changes are being proposed so that health and care services can work more closely together.

But in the public question time section of the West Yorkshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee campaigners including representatives of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS and North Kirklees NHS Support Group raised questions with the committee about how services would be structured.

In particular they were worried about who would procure services, what the role of Clinical Commissioning Groups in procuring services would be, the role of GPs, and concerns about potential take over of GP practices by big companies which might be more motivated by profit than care.

Government White Paper

The committee’s own responses following a working party will also be sent to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and copied to all West Yorkshire MPs, councillors were told.

The White Paper – these are documents presenting an issue and this one is titled “Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all” – was published by the Department of Health and Social Care in February.

Bradford councillor Vanda Greenwood (Lab, Windhill and Wrose), said it had been agreed that she would write to Mr Hancock, stating what the views and concerns of the scrutiny councillors, voiced in the workshop, were, once the letter was finalised.

In February Mr Hancock said the planned restructure will mean a focus “on the health of the population, not just the health of patients,” but it has also met opposition.

Coun Greenwood said issues raised by the campaigners would be taken into discussions the committee would have about the White Paper.

The Senior Scrutiny Officer for Calderdale Council – which hosted the committee’s meeting in virtual form – Mike Lodge, said responses to the public’s questions would be drafted and sent to them.

It was early days in the White Paper’s progress so these might not be final answers, he said.