Reorganisation of local health scrutiny on the way in Havering

A complete reorganisation of the local groups holding Havering’s health services to account is set to take place.

Under new government regulation, Havering LINk – the local improvement network giving local people a say over healthcare – will be abolished and replaced with a new system of involvement.

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) – currently provided by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) and a body which helps resolve conflict between patients and hospitals – will become the responsibility of the council.

A new ‘Healthwatch’ system will be introduced but councils have different options about how to run them.

At last week’s meeting, Havering’s cabinet voted to consult on how the new system would be arranged.

Cllr Linda van Den Hende (Residents’ Association, Upminster) raised concerns about wording in the report which indicated a decision on the future would be needed before Friday of last week.

But a council officer said that that was an initial pre-consultation period and that a number of meetings were scheduled for this week too.

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The issue of a Barking and Dagenham Council report which stated that the councils had already agreed a joint Healthwatch Scheme was also raised.

But Cllr Steven Kelly, deputy leader of Havering Council, said: “We had a conversation it was a discussion around the table, there’s no commitment for Havering for anything.

“We don’t know quite how they had the nerve to put it in their cabinet report. There have been no formal discussions with Barking and Dagenham.”

The three options which the council could follow are:

-A Havering Healthwatch based on the current LINk steering group.

-A stand-alone group funded by Havering Council.

-A Healthwatch shared with Barking and Dagenham, described in Havering’s cabinet report as ‘the most cost effective option’.

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