Details of the Forum from its Chairman, Barry Sheerman MP
Welcome to the Associate Parliamentary Health Forum- a cross-party initiative designed to facilitate a better understanding of the Health Service, by providing detailed information about performance standards throughout the United Kingdom on a constituency-by-constituency basis.
The Parliamentary Forum is an initiative designed primarily to engage MPs in the heaith - care agenda at local and national level. Many MPs have a working knowledge of national health issues and some are very active in working to make a difference within their constituencies. Our aim is to add value to their work. We aim to do this by providing information that will help all MPs to engage more positively in local healthcare issues.
One of the first tasks of the Forum, with the support of its parliamentary officers and advisory board, will be to seek to enhance the knowledge of MPs by hosting a dedicated website designed to give detailed performance standards of health authority trusts within each constituency. It is believed this data will encourage the promulgation of positive performance standards within NHS Trusts and encourage co-operative action for improvement.
This web facility has been developed in partnership with Dr Foster Ltd and Castle Information Technical Services and will provide a comprehensive breakdown on health data with comparison of individual constituency performances on issues such as coronary heart disease, cancer, maternity services and mental health.
In addition to information on NHS Trusts, which will be updated at different times during the year, the password-protected website will have regularly published news bulletins and other interesting information for parliamentarians. The Forum will also hold regular workshops and events in Westminster designed to further inform parliamentarians and their staff on the important health issues of the day, and will seek greater practical engagement between Members of both Houses and the different NHS agencies.
This new Forum is specifically designed to embrace all of the agencies of the NHS in a collaborative approach to help deliver equitable access and understanding of health in the community and will actively seek to highlight examples of best practice and co- operation between the public and private sectors. On this latter point, I would like to mention that we have a number of private sector partners, and it is through their kind support, especially that of Wyeth Laboratories, that we have been able to launch this new and innovative service.
I hope that you will support this exciting initiative by joining the Forum and using the facilities we have on offer and in turn helping to make a positive change to healthcare provision in the UK."