Hospital trusts accountability must return

Oldham’s patients will be left unrepresented and uncared for if Oldham Council persists with no scrutiny of the new Northern Care Alliance, says Crompton Liberal Democrat Councillor Louie Hamblett, with the Council having not replaced the board which previously oversaw the activities of the now dissolved Pennine Care.

With current IT failures causing huge problems across the Alliance, the importance of being able to scrutinise the trust has been placed firmly in the spotlight.

The Shadow Cabinet Member for Health said: “No-one will be speaking up for patients in the new system, and there is already confusion over services being provided in different hospitals.

“Currently there are patients who are getting services in hospitals which are not covered by the Northern Care Alliance – they are contracting in services in North Manchester hospitals. If something goes wrong, who do you complain to? Is it the hospital where it happened, or the hospital which contracted in the services? One thing is for certain, if it is possible for complaints to fall through the cracks, it seems all too likely that they will.”

Councillor Hamblett called for a new committee to provide overview and scrutiny for the Northern Care Alliance and all the places where it is commissioning services from.

He continued: “There is a clear need for effective scrutiny. This got lost while everyone prioritised – necessarily – the Covid pandemic. We are in a different place now, and the Council must ensure that the people of Oldham are represented.

“We have Covid recovery strategies, but we are not effectively working with NHS providers, and we are not challenging them to ensure they are doing the best for the people of Oldham. The Labour administration should not have let this slip.

“I care that residents get looked after properly. I want to know that I have done my level best to get their views heard. Without oversight, they are being denied a voice. That cannot be allowed to continue.”

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