Community Health Services (Worcestershire)

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Chair, Business, Innovation and Skills Committee 2:30 pm, 30th March 2010

What assessment he has made of the likely effects on patients and staff of the reorganisation of community health services in Worcestershire; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health

This is a matter for the local NHS, which is proposing changes to improve the quality of services to patients. That will be thoroughly tested against national criteria.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Chair, Business, Innovation and Skills Committee

I think that the Government are probably right to insist on the purchaser-provider split, but does the Minister understand that the timetable the Government are insisting on for the reorganisation of community services in Worcestershire could lead to the wrong decisions being taken about the future of those services, contrary to the interests of patients and staff, and probably to the need for a further reorganisation, which would be damaging and disruptive to the organisation, all too quickly?

Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health

I spoke to the chief executive of Worcestershire PCT just this morning, and the need for improving services has been worked on since January 2009. The Department's deadline for achieving substantial implementation is April next year. The local NHS does not see this as a forced or a hastened change, and it has worked closely with staff, patients and others to improve services. What I believe would prove disruptive and disconcerting for staff and patients is delaying this improvement in services.