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Health and Social Care Act 2022

cllr julie gibson
Cllr Julie Gibson

Cllr calls for focus a renewed focus on accountability and democracy 

West Lancashire County Councillor, Julie Gibson has called on the newly formed Integrated Care Systems (ICS) to remain focused on accountability and democracy when delivering health care services in West Lancashire. Provisions in the Health and Social Care Act 2022 will allow private sector involvement in delivering clinical services with the ability for private providers to hold seats on integrated care boards (ICBs).

Cllr Gibson said: “There are real concerns that these changes, particularly where new services are being commissioned or services are being changed, would allow contracts to be awarded to new providers without sufficient scrutiny, and again opening the door to private providers. There is no requirement on these boards to be democratically elected or to be representative of the communities they serve. I question how these boards can deliver services for the community when they have no community representation and accountability.”

“We only have to look at the example of Virgin Care in our own area of West Lancashire who sold on their contract to deliver health care service in our own area to another company without any scrutiny or accountability to the local community.”

Cllr Gibson continued: “One of the the more controversial elements of the Bill is that it will hand greater powers to the Secretary of State. The proposals in the Bill would require the Secretary of State to be notified of all changes, no matter how large or small, temporary, or permanent. This could result in a decision-making log jam, placing a significant burden on local and national NHS bodies awaiting decisions.

Cllr Gibson said: “The Government argues that the reforms aim to place collaboration rather than competition at the heart of how health care services are organised, and no-one could argue that joined up working is not to be welcomed if that is their real intention. But let us not forget, it was a Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher who created Trusts and introduced the market system into health care. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.”

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