NHS leaders should be more accountable

Chairs and chief executives of the new PCTs strongly agree with the statement ‘PCTs accountability to their local population needs to be strengthened', according to the results of a recent poll.

Gill Morgan

Views on how accountability should be strengthened were:

  • Nearly half (48.2 per cent) of the chairs and chief executives responding felt that foundation trusts style membership was a possible way to strengthen accountability to local patients and the public
  • Just under 30 per cent (29.6 per cent) of respondents said that strengthening the role of overview and scrutiny committees would also help achieve stronger accountability to the local population
  • Around 10 per cent (11.9%) said electing members of the public onto PCTs boards
  • And, 10 per cent (10.4 per cent) said adopting local councillors onto PCT boards was another option that could work in the future

David Stout, the director of the new PCT Network, said: ‘NHS leaders recognise that they need to do more to improve accountability to their local communities. It will be a huge challenge for PCTs to genuinely engage patients and the general public, for example, in the debate about where and how local healthcare services are delivered. We now need a debate about how we can achieve this. Is it by electing local people onto PCT boards or by introducing foundation trust style membership to primary care trusts?

Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation which represents over 90 per cent of NHS organisations, said: ‘The government was right to focus the reform agenda on the acute sector over recent years and we have seen real successes in reducing waiting times and improving patient care. But we now need a fundamentally different approach to the reform agenda that tackles wider issues.’

The NHS Confederation PCT Network is launched today (5 December). PCT chief executives and chairs will be joined by the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Health and the NHS chief executive in looking at the challenges and priorities ahead.

The PCT Network will help its members improve health and patient care by influencing policy and the public debate, supporting learning within the new organisations and developing solutions with the wider NHS.

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