Public urged to have say on health

A PATIENT forum has today issued a plea to the public to get involved in shaping the future of their health service.Consultations are currently underway on the government's plans to merge the region's health authorities and a series of public meetings have been held.

A PATIENT forum has today issued a plea to the public to get involved in shaping the future of their health service.

Consultations are currently underway on the government's plans to merge the region's health authorities and a series of public meetings have been held.

Lorene Baker, of the Ipswich Hospital Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forum, has been disappointed with the turn-out and is urging more people to take an interest.

She said: “At the last meeting in Stowmarket there were 23 people in the audience, at least nine of these were councillors and there were two of us from PPI forums.”

The proposals, put forward in a document called Commissioning A Patient-Led NHS, would see one Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and one ambulance trust for the East of England. The number of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in Suffolk would also be reduced from five to one or two.

The public are being asked to fill out a questionnaire which will then be analysed by independent health experts at the University of East Anglia.

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Mrs Baker said: “Over 600 have been received to date but I would urge people to push these figures up so we can say we are trying.

“The Department of Health are asking for us to be involved in health. Let it not be said that we do not care and it will make no difference.”

Mrs Baker said she had asked the SHA to make the consultation documents and questionnaire available more widely by putting them in places like libraries, GP surgeries and council offices.

For more information on the consultation contact Jayne Ashworth at the SHA on 01223 597 567 or e-mail consultation@nscsha.nhs.uk .

All responses must be submitted to the SHA by March 22.

WEBLINK: www.nscsha.nhs.uk

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