Resources - Ask questions and be consulted on local NHS changes

There are both existing and old routes to ensuring you are informed, consulted and engaged about local NHS changes - and some routes are better than others. Part of the OurNHS Resource Guide.

10 December 2013

Contact your Council scrutiny committees & Health & Wellbeing Boards - see this Keep Our NHS Public Guide (2013) to these bodies, which do have some powers of democratic oversight by local councillors.

Ask your own councillors to ask questions too - some suggested questions prepared by Keep Our NHS Public.  Find your borough or county councillors here.

Know your consultation rights - rights of the general public to be consulted are weak, but they still exist. This guide for Keep Our NHS Public, written in 2012, needs some updating but the broad principles still apply and will help you demand your rights as a member of the public.

Defend your consultation rights especially when hospitals are under threat of closure - the Hospital Closure Clause threatens these rights.

Consider using your GP’s ‘patient participation group’ (if they have one) to get information and perhaps organise at a very local level.

Consider getting involved at local level in the other, new (not terribly democratic or powerful) structures like Healthwatch - the last 2 pages of the ‘Unite guide to privatisation of the NHS England’ has a good overview of the options.

Understand how ‘patient involvement’ structures have been progressively weakened. A thorough history of patient involvement (though the last paragraph seems very optimistic) by the Director of the Socialist Health Association.

Understand how far new local Healthwatch organisations can actually campaign. Officials may steer you to them. They are essentially bound by charities law.

Lobby your MP and other influencers - the TUC guide and the NHS Support Federation guide both have lots of tips - (the latter is out of date in terms of NHS structures but is good on the detail of how to lobby people). The NHS Support Federation has also produced this guide to the state of the NHS in key Tory marginal seats.

See here for an OurNHS guide to writing to your MP on the hospital closure clause, and links to other campaign resources from KONP, Save Lewisham Hospital and 38 Degrees.

Tweet your MP using this handy tool.


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Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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