This is an extract of Lucy Allan's speech on the Future Fit process which she gave in Parliament during a debate in November 2016.
I want to take this opportunity to flag up the statutory obligations of local CCGs, NHS England and the Secretary of State to address health inequalities, in particular because Telford and Shropshire continue to undergo a controversial reorganisation of future healthcare provision.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 introduced legal duties on the Secretary of State, NHS England and CCGs to reduce health inequalities and move towards greater investment in healthcare where levels of deprivation are higher. NHS guidance for commissioners says that, “Health inequalities must be properly and seriously taken into account when making decisions.”
And that it is necessary to demonstrate that the appropriate weight has been given to tackling health inequalities. I know from my experience as non-executive director of an NHS trust that the NHS is committed to that objective and that tackling health inequalities is at the heart of all it does, but somehow that is not happening.
It is right that decisions are made locally by local health commissioners, but we need to ensure that commissioners pay due regard to health inequalities and that they evidence the fact that they have done so. That is not about box ticking or paying lip service to an ideal.
While I welcome the proposed additional investment in health provision for the wider area of Telford and Shropshire, I want to be a voice for my constituents, so I want to ensure that health inequality is prioritised both in the decision-making process and when new investment is brought to the area.
Not only is the much-needed investment to be redirected elsewhere, but Telford may lose other key services. Telford has the greatest need, the fastest growing population, as a rapidly expanding new town, and, above all, the greatest inequality of health outcomes. Too often in Telford we hear that rural sparsity is prioritised for additional investment, rather than deprivation, health inequalities and need. That is wrong.
You can read the whole speech here: