There was a flurry of activity last month as evidence from both ourselves and the NHS Islington went to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. Their recommendation apparently went to the Department of Health (DoH) within two days of the deadline, on 19 April. No one will know what this recommendation was, nor will either side know what evidence the other submitted, until after the DoH makes the final decision. We were told this would be ‘within weeks’. Nearly a month on there has been no word.
Never mind about transparent democratic processes – we now have a PCT board which meets “in public” in the middle of a locked office and an expert panel who met in private to decide between their case and ours. There are two points where elected officials have some say – first the local Health and Wellbeing Review Committee who sent it to the DoH and now Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, who has final say. Although judging by recent public remarks, he hasn’t exactly been making it a priority.
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