May the Fourth be with you!

It’s Local Election day today where I live, maybe where you live too.

What you may not know is the added significance of this and future local elections to the provision of NHS and care services in your area.

To explain: some of the Councillors you elect today will end up being on a Council body called the ‘Health and Wellbeing Board’ (HWB). You can read more about HWBs here:

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/new-nhs/health-and-wellbeing-boards

Your local  Health and Wellbeing Board will be the body that chooses how your area’s health budget gets spent – what gets funded, what gets cut, and what happens to your medical records.

Why this is extra significant in this election, and in future elections, is because of a reorganisation of the NHS that many people don’t know about.

In England, the NHS is being divided up into 44 areas – called Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) “footprints”, more details here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/stps/view-stps/ – each of which will be given a single devolved budget to spend on NHS and care services in that area. Essentially, central government is handing the tough decisions on cuts, etc. to local government and the CCGs – i.e. the Health and Wellbeing Boards, where the Councillors and the Commissioners sit together to decide things.

So, as these STP ‘footprints’ come into being – and the process is well underway in many parts of the country – the power of your Health and Wellbeing Board in helping determine where resources are spent (or not) in your area becomes much greater.

We’ve written about this in our last two e-mail newsletters, also published on medConfidential’s website:
https://medconfidential.org/2017/medconfidential-bulletin-9th-april-2017/

https://medconfidential.org/2017/medconfidential-bulletin-21st-april-2017/

and also on our facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/medConfidential

So, as you vote today, you may want to think what the candidate you are voting for might do if given greater power over NHS & care spending in your area.

They’ll all say nice things about the NHS of course – that’s a given in British party politics – but do you know what your Council candidates’ priorities are, or what and how they’ll decide cuts? Because, make no mistake, there’ll continue to be cuts WHOEVER ends up winning the General Election in June.

Do you trust they have the wisdom… the compassion… the sense… to make such decisions?

Because you’re the ones electing them – and, in this context, not voting’s a decision too.

Please vote mindfully today.

I know many people do already, but we’ve had a difficult time recently – lots of misinformation, anger and confusion. Some are fearful of what may happen, others eager for change – though without knowing what the consequences of that change will be.

I hope this information has been helpful in informing your choice today.

I’m certainly not going to suggest who to vote for – that’s for each of us to decide for ourselves. And it may be that you care about other things more than health and care (and, in my case, medical confidentiality and data privacy) issues. Which is entirely fair.

To #democracy! Not quite as much fun as sex, but certainly just as messy…

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