Authorities would commission health care under Lib Dems


A Liberal Democrat government would introduce legislation allowing
local authorities to commission health care as well as social care,
according to the party’s health spokesperson,
writes Katie Leason in Newcastle.

Paul Burstow said that ahead of the legislation he would ask for
volunteers to become pathfinder authorities. Existing powers under
the Health Act 1999 could be used to pilot local authority led
commissioning, he said.

“Decisions about the what, where, who, how and why of
commissioning should be made locally. Those who make the decisions
should be answerable locally for their decisions,” he said.

He added that local authority commissioners should also be able
to use health resources to develop social services.

Burstow also used his speech to criticise the draft mental
health bill, saying that “without improvement it should not pass”.
He said that it was wrong to include such a wide range of people
and such a wide definition of treatment within the bill.

“It still feels like a Home Office bill masquerading as a health
bill,” he said.

He described the Children Bill as a bill “with a good purpose”
but said that unless it built links between registered social
landlords and children’s services it would be a missed

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