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‘Who calls the tune at NHS?’
QUESTIONS have been asked over who will be publically accountable for Knutsford’s health services when the Primary Care Trust (PCT) closes its doors this month.
Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT, which funds health services in the area is closing its Middlewich-based headquarters 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.
The east Cheshire group, which will cover Knutsford, Mobberley and the surrounding villages, will be based in Macclesfield.
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 Knutsford Area For Knutsford Action (KAFKA), spoke to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) at Thursday’s full council meeting to ask who is legally in charge within the local NHS.
“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. “The NHS is paid for by the public and should be fully accountable every day, hour and minute to the public, which ‘pays the piper’ yet seemingly has no right to call the tune.”
Charlotte is concerned CWAC was not consulted over health issues in Knutsford when 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 details for those accountable for the NHS on its own website.