Photo by Lukasz Bemka
The national consultation on the future of Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre came to a close last week. Those able to attend one of the NHS England’s meetings will know what we mean when we say that the consultation was a sham, from start to finish.
But the majority were not even granted this courtesy, as we can reveal.
Throughout the five-month long consultation, there were 33 events held around the country. Not too bad – until you break down the details.
Of the 33 meetings, six were council-led. The public were not always allowed to ask questions at these meetings so these do not fall into the category of public consultation. Two were staff briefings – so also inaccessible to the public.
In total, NHS England carried out three Webinars. But as anyone who tried to use them will tell you, they were impossible to access – even for those with the internet
Of the remaining 22 meetings, nine were held on a week day and during work hours. An additional two were held from 5-7 – so for the majority of those in work they were also completely inaccessible.
So that is 22 out of 33 (two thirds) that the majority of the public could not attend and “consult”! Or, to put it differently, NHS England carried out just eleven meetings as part of a national public consultation!
Many of the meetings were announced with as little as nine-days notice.
To make things even worse, NHS England made very little effort to notify anyone about the meetings – they simply added it onto their web page. But who knew to go there to find out where and when the meetings would be? The majority of the public wouldn’t know that NHS England even had a web site, let alone check every day.
And what about those many who do not have access to the internet?
NHS England have proven beyond all doubt that they were not interested in carrying out a fully public consultation. We cannot let them off the hook.
We will do everything we can to continue to expose the flaws in the process. The consultation may be over but the campaign to save Glenfield is not.
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