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Archive - Saturday, 4 August 2012
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'We pay for NHS but who calls the tune?'
QUESTIONS have been asked over who will be publically accountable for health services when Middlewich’s Primary Care Trust (PCT) base closes its doors this month.
Universal House, Middlewich
Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT, which funds health services in Middlewich, Winsford, Northwich and Knutsford, is closing Universal House on August 31 as part of a NHS restructure.
It will be replaced by commissioning groups of GPs, called Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), although these are shadow bodies until April 2013.
Speaking to the Guardian, Nicola Kent, PCT primary care projects manager, said: “We are quite ahead. Our clinical commissioning groups are already set up.
“They are in position and are out there and working in kind of a shadow form.
“While legally, PCTs are statutory bodies until March 31, what’s actually happening in practice is the CCGs are working as they would do in April.
“The closure of Universal House will have absolutely no impact to patient services at all.”
But Charlotte Peters Rock, an Allostock resident and member of Cheshire Area for Cheshire Action (ChA ChA), spoke to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) on Thursday to ask who is legally in charge within the local NHS and to appeal to councillors for help.
“There is a certainty that the Clinical Commissioning Groups of GPs will not legally be able to act until April 2013,” she said.
“Equally, there is no obvious accountability yet agreed by the PCT cluster NHS Cheshire, Wirral and Warrington.
“It has, seemingly, no base of its own, no website, and is giving out no information in respect of the current very worrying fiasco.
“If the PCT Cluster is in charge, where is it and what is it in charge of?
“The NHS is a public service, paid for by the public, and should be fully accountable on every day, hour and minute to the public, which ‘pays the piper’ yet seemingly has no right to call the tune.”
Charlotte said she was also concerned CWAC was not consulted over health issues in Knutsford when many of its residents, at the border of west and east Cheshire, look to the town for their care.
She asked CWAC to help establish accountability and provide contact information for those accountable for the NHS on its own website.
In a bid to make things clearer, the PCT has provided this list of new contact numbers:
- Eastern Cheshire CCG, Alderley Building, Macclesfield – 01625 663477
- South Cheshire CCG and Vale Royal CCG, Bevan House, Nantwich – 01270 275303
- Public Health team, Westfields, Sandbach – 0300 1235500
- Continuing Healthcare – 01270 275487
- Patient Advice and Liaison Services 01270 275290
- Complaints 01270 275232
- Data Protection and Freedom of Information 01270 275233 (concerns about the transfer of confidential information should be also be directed to the above number)