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Lib Dem concern over Healthwatch criticism of Surrey County Council

September 11, 2017 3:33 PM
Fiona White

Fiona White

Liberal Democrat county councillors have expressed their concern after an independent body, Healthwatch Surrey, criticised the county council for a lack of engagement and consultation after changes to the provision of sexual health services.

Healthwatch Surrey has written to the county council outlining their criticisms in relation to HIV services. The letter states that:

- engagement and consultation with services users has not been adequate

- there was no opportunity for user views to be taken into account

- future meetings that have been arranged for service users are too late to allow them to help shape the service going forward

The letter comes after the county council was forced to extend the original contracts for the provision of sexual health services, at a cost of £1.1m, in March 2017.

Cllr Fiona White, Liberal Democrat, said:

"The Council have not acted in the best interests of service users when changing sexual health provision in Surrey. If they had consulted effectively and listened to what users are saying, they would have recognised that the changes would create very real problems for people who are already on low incomes in getting to the alternative provision.

"There are also serious questions on whether the three remaining sites have the capacity to provide a good service to patients. The service is there not only to treat patients but also to carry out prevention work which would protect people from sexual health problems in future. That work is also at risk which could add to future pressures for the NHS.

"Problems with the contract for sexual health services have already cost the county council an extra million pounds, so I am calling for Surrey to address these concerns from Healthwatch and consult fully before significant changes are made to this important service".

NOTES

- A copy of the letter from Healthwatch (p11) can be found within the agenda to the Adults & Health meeting which was held on 4/9/17 at County Hall:

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=647&MId=5711&Ver=4

- The decision to extend the previous sexual health contract can be found here:

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/documents/s36880/Item%202%20-%20Sexual%20Health%20Services%20Contract.pdf