West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is demanding answers from Central Lancashire PCT over the future use of Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre after Freedom of Information papers reveal the centre’s future being discussed behind closed doors.
MP Rosie recently raised concerns about the future of West Lancashire Health Centre, which is now seeking to close its GP-Registered list. During the course of these investigations Rosie requested papers from the West Lancashire Health Partnership Board Meetings. This is a partnership involving local GPs from the West Lancashire Out of Hours Service and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust and they run West Lancashire Health Centre.
In the documents released under Freedom of Information, minutes from the 2nd November 2011 Board meeting state in reference to Skelmersdale Walk-In Centre ‘change of use needed as not being utilised as originally envisaged.’. Further, the minutes go on ‘PCT and CCG to review the centre, in conjunction with the Trust in terms of what could be delivered at the Skelmersdale WIC’
Responding to this latest behind closed doors discussion about the future of local health services, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Here we go again. This is exactly what happened last time with West Lancashire Health Centre. People taking decisions on taxpayer funded health services behind closed doors and without the courtesy of sharing their decisions.
“I have written to Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust demanding to know exactly what is going on over the future of Skelmersdale Walk-In Centre. What business does the West Lancashire Health Partnership have even discussing the Skelmersdale Walk-In Centre. They don’t run it, it is not their responsibility, which makes it none of their business. For me this situation highlights one of the real problems we face with the new look NHS. Here we have GPs who are responsible for commissioning health services yet it is the same GPs who are also providing the service. There is a massive conflict of interest in how our health services are being run now.
“Nevermind poacher turned gamekeeper. The GPs here get to play poacher AND gamekeeper.
“We have got more of this to come. A small cabal of local GPs are making decisions about West Lancashire health services and doing so in secret, behind closed doors. My real fear is that they will be making decisions that are in their best interests and not necessarily in the health interests of West Lancashire residents.
“If this means that every decision taken and every issue discussed requires me to reveal the information then I will do so until these health professionals understand that they are accountable for their decisions to the taxpayers of West Lancashire.