The 2004 NHS Reform Act introduced a statutory duty on NHS boards to encourage public engagement in both the planning and development of local services and/or decisions made by the NHS board that would significantly affect the operation of those services. The guidance to the NHS in Scotland on the appropriate level of public and stakeholder engagement for proposed service change is contained in CEL 4 (2010): Informing, Engaging and Consulting People in Developing Health and Community Care Services which can be accessed at: http://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/CEL2010_04.pdf .
This guidance is clear that any NHS proposals which are considered to be major must be subject to a period of formal, public consultation and, ultimately, ministerial approval.
NHS Lothian has yet to conclude consideration of its proposals for the future of local homeopathic services. I would expect the board to continue to fully engage with all local stakeholders as it further develops its plans. I am aware that Midlothian Community Health Partnership is already making arrangements to undertake a period of public consultation and I would encourage the member to engage with that consultation. As noted above, should the board’s final proposals be considered major service change, they would have to be subject to formal public consultation and ministerial approval.