Sir George has responded to the consultation document "Modernising the NHS: Shifting The Balance of Power in the South East" with the following letter. The Government propose to abolish three Health Authorities in Hampshire, passing down to Primary Care Trusts most of their work, and then establishing one new Health Authority for the County.
"I have read the consultation document on the proposal to establish a new Health Authority for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
I found it a rather thin document, with the case for change not made with any conviction. In view of the recent hostile reception to the proposed merger of the ambulance service in Hampshire with that of Surrey, I would have hoped that the arguments against enlargement that were deployed during that debate might have been addressed in the current one. In particular, I found the section on financial implications particularly weak. There is no detailed information on the costs of the change in Hampshire, simply an aspiration that any savings would be earmarked for reinvestment in front line services. The document makes it clear that other organisations, particularly the PCT’s will have to be geared up to assume their new responsibilities and this must inevitably incur some costs. Nowhere is there a list of the offices that might be closed, nor of the numbers of staff that might no longer be needed – and it is this essential information that one needs to find out whether the exercise is worthwhile.
The problem at the moment for many of my constituents is they simply can’t get the treatment that they are entitled to; there are long waiting lists and cancelled operations and it is this that they want to be addressed, rather than another reorganisation which simply take attention away from the delivery of frontline services.
While I have no disagreement in principal with what is proposed, I really do think that the case for change needs to be made much more strong if it is to carry any convention."