The MHF has offered to help the government reform the NHS to be more gender-sensitive.
Responding to white paper Equity And Excellence published by health secretary Andrew Lansley, right, the Forum has focused less on reservations about some changes and more on practical suggestions of how it can help make them work. It proposes to:
The Forum’s response is based on an online survey of partners and other readers of this website, comments to the site and a roundtable of experts specifically convened to discuss the white paper. The MHF also contributed to the consultations organised by the DH for all its Strategic Partners.
The MHF response makes ten specific requests from government:
On the central plank of the white paper, to replace PCTs with GP consortia, MHF CEO Peter Baker, right, said: ‘The move represents a substantial shift from current practice. In the past, most PCTs have not commissioned services that take proper account of men. This situation could well deteriorate under the new arrangements without significant practical guidance and enforcement. Currently, it is unclear how the NHS Commissioning Board will monitor the performance of GP consortia in meeting duties to tackle health inequalities and promote equality in line with the Equality Act.'
Peter described the idea of establishing Health and Well-being Boards to promote integration across NHS health services, public health and social care as ‘ambitious’. He said the board’s success would be determined by their ‘membership, powers and extent of cooperation between them’.
‘There are a number of potential conflicts within the system,’ he said, ‘including a confusion between national and local priorities. Unless there is integration between local needs and the national NHS Outcomes Framework, there is a danger that the needs of those experience the worst inequalities may be overlooked.
'There must be a mechanism in place to ensure that the most vulnerable and those who it is difficult to access do not "fall through the cracks". There may well be the temptation to pass responsibility to another statutory agency for time-consuming and expensive-to-access groups. There must be a means to ensure that this does not happen. Health and Well-being Boards must have an overview and scrutiny function.’
Page created on October 6th, 2010
Page updated on October 8th, 2010