Darzi centres introduced without public consultation

The DoH should abandon its deadline to have all contracts for GP-led health centres signed by 31 December because PCTs are failing to properly consult the public about their plans, according to a new report.

Lord Darzi (Photograph: J H Lancy)

The report, by independent organisation the NHS Support Federation, said there was wide variation in trusts' approach to consulting, confusion about the need to consult and evidence of legal breaches in consultation procedures among some trusts.

A study of 37 PCTs outside London that had undertaken consultations showed that two-thirds had not asked local people whether they agreed with the overall plan for a GP-led health centre.

Meanwhile, 42% made no reference in their consultation to the fact that the new health centre could be run by a commercial or voluntary sector organisation.

This was despite the fact that legal advice from the DoH said that consultations should cover 'the approach to selecting the preferred bidder and the proposed consultation mechanism'.

The report said that, given the scale of the failings, the DoH should drop its 31 December deadline for contracts outside of London to be signed to ensure the public had been given full information about the plans and had a genuine opportunity to influence them.

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