Meacher blasts NHS changes

Date published: 26 April 2011

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher has written to health secretary Andrew Lansley to oppose what he describes as lunatic changes to the NHS which he believes are unconstitutional.

He said that abolishing local Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) — which run community health services — will have “significant detrimental consequences on patient care”.

And he believes that it puts the whole provision of health care at risk.

The change is part of the move giving GPs rather than PCTs the power to commission community health services.

As part of the transition, a temporary Greater Manchester PCT serving around three million people will be in place by June.

In his letter, Mr Meacher writes: “These arrangements have been made with no consultation at any level and, for the first time in NHS history, there will be no decision-making at local level.

“I am also concerned that these arrangements are causing a great deal of unrest and dissatisfaction among staff of all levels. As an example of this, all the senior staff in Oldham have received notice that their jobs are at risk.

“This does not make for commitment to the organisation and many of the best people are leaving the NHS taking valuable skills with them.

“I believe the creation of this Greater Manchester PCT is challengeable in law as it is unconstitutional, not having been sanctioned by Parliament. Governance and financial arrangements are unclear and undetermined.”

He added: “There is going to be chaos as the system goes from local to regional and then back again in the space of two years. This strikes me as lunatic.”