Healthwatch Derbyshire Chief Executive Karen Ritchie raised her concerns at a recent Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) meeting about the lack of public consultation on the health service cuts they are proposing.
The £95 million overspend means that cuts to services are required to save £51 million between now and April 2019.
At the public meeting, she argued that patients, carers and the public had so far not been given enough opportunity to have their say on the impact of the cuts which, she fears, will have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on local people’s lives.
The issue has now been picked up by Ruth George, Labour MP for High Peak who has secured parliamentary time on September 4 when MPs will have the opportunity to put forward questions to the Health Minister.
Ms Ritchie said today: “Having highlighted the issue of inadequate public and patient engagement, and raised concerns regarding the impact of the voluntary sector cuts on Derbyshire residents, Derbyshire CCG have stated that they will have further discussions with Derbyshire County Council and the voluntary sector to look at how the impact can be managed better.
“I am still concerned that the pace of implementation of the financial recovery plan will make it very difficult for the public to genuinely influence decisions being made that will ultimately impact their care and treatment.
“However, it is good news that questions will be raised at parliament about this. The cuts go against the long-term strategy of the CCG, particularly their intention to keep people independent and well in their own homes for longer, a key objective of the CCG.
“The demands of NHS England are focusing the CCG on short-term financial goals, rather than what’s best in the long term for patients and members of the public.
“I would therefore urge people to contact their local MP either directly or through Healthwatch Derbyshire to voice their concerns and specifically relay their personal experiences of services and the impact that these cuts will have on their own lives.”
“Hopefully NHS England, who are demanding large savings in a short period of time, will be made aware of these concerns and take into account the fact that proper consultation is a vital and necessary step in measuring the impact that cuts to services may have on the people of Derbyshire.