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Local NHS Changes

The Role of the Community Health Councils When the NHS wants to change services

Change happens in the NHS every day in hospitals, in GP practices and in other community services.

This happens for many reasons. Our health needs change. Medical advances lead to different ways of providing health care. Workforce and other challenges can also drive changes in the way NHS services are provided.

Local health boards must plan, design and develop NHS services with local people, from the start. This helps to make sure local health services meet the existing and future needs of the people and communities they serve.

Health Boards must tell their local CHC when they want to make a change that affects people. CHCs must work with their Health Board whenever it is thinking about making a change.

CHCs represent the interests of public and patients. CHCs make sure that NHS organisations ask people for their views and listen to what they have to say.

What we do when health boards tell us they want to make changes

We ask the health board to show people:

  • why it thinks things need to change
  • what it thinks will be better for patients if things change
  • who will be affected if things change
  • how much it will cost.

We agree with the health board what they should do to help make sure people:

  • know about their ideas for change
  • can easily share their views and ideas or ask questions.
What we do once people have shared their views and ideas

We look carefully at what people have said. Often, people have different views and ideas about what is best.

We make sure the health board:

  • has thought carefully about what everyone has said
  • uses what people have said to change its plans where it needs to
  • answers the questions and any concerns people have raised.

Once we have done this, we need to decide if we agree with the changes the health board wants to make.

When we decide, we must think about:

  • the good and bad effects on all communities
  • how any particular groups of people may be affected
  • how services may be affected if things change or if they don’t
  • whether there are things the health board can do to limit any bad effects
  • how much things cost.

If we don’t think the health board has:

  • given people enough chance to have their say
  • thought properly about what people have said
  • answered people’s concerns, or
  • come up with the best way forward

We will tell them and ask them put it right. If this doesn’t work, we will ask the Minister for Health and Social Services to decide what should happen.

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