Headlines: February 5th, 2004

Liverpool City Council has set up a committee to look at the way health services are provided within the city. The task for the scrutiny committee is to ensure that concerns of patients and families are made a priority. They will seek to understand issues relating to the service, how they affect the people of the city and Merseyside and make recommendations for improvement. Its remit will cover the city’s three primary care trusts and eight NHS based trusts as well as NHS services based outside the city to which Liverpool residents have access.Because the NHS is undergoing major changes the City Council believes it’s important to seek to examine, explain and influence decisions on behalf of patients. Some of the major issues within the NHS locally are provision of renal and ante-natal care. It is also likely that the scrutiny committee will investigate the quality of hospital meals, how patients are transported, and how the city council works with the NHS in response to emergencies. The committee will also act as a tool for change to encourage and promote healthier lifestyles to reduce the burden on the NHS.

Derek Campbell, Chief Executive, Central Liverpool PCT said: “The NHS in Liverpool already works well with colleagues in the City Council and we are looking forward to an even closer working relationship. Our work with the committee will enable local people to have a greater understanding of the major changes facing the NHS. The closer working relationship can only benefit NHS patients”.

The scrutiny committee, which has wide ranging powers, has been created under the Health and Social Care Act. It must be consulted by the NHS on any major service development and it may hold senior health managers to account. Information must be provided by health managers within 21 days and they must respond to a scrutiny report within 10 weeks. The committee can also refer issues to the Secretary of State.