NHS watchdog warns public must be consulted

Watchdog group Healthwatch Surrey is calling for “quality engagement” by the NHS with residents following publication of a major five-year plan to improve health and care services for Surrey Heartlands.

Surrey Heartlands covers Haslemere, currently managed by Surrey Downs, North West Surrey and Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Groups.

At the end of last year, the Government asked health and care organisations to work together across larger areas to deliver the NHS Five Year Forward View, resulting in the formation of Surrey Heartlands.

Its sustainability and transformation plans (STP), will set out its proposals for improving services for residents to offer the best care and treatments.

Healthwatch’s call was made after Surrey Heartlands opted to run small, in-depth events to get feedback on proposals, and has yet to consult with the wider public.

Healthwatch Surrey chief executive Kate Scribbins said: “We have heard about many cases nationally, where public engagement has been severely lacking, so it is important the STPs in Surrey do not make the same mistake.

“We acknowledge Surrey Heartlands has taken steps to engage with the public in an innovative way, and are calling for as much ongoing and meaningful involvement as possible as their more detailed plans are developed. The issues and challenges facing health and care are so complex and interrelated that the development of the STP involves all parts of the system working together to shape the future.

Full story in Farnham Herald 3rd December 2016