The King's Fund response to LGA Health Commission report

Responding to Who’s Accountable for Health?, the Local Government Association independent Health Commission report on making the NHS more accountable to local people, King’s Fund Director of Policy Dr Anna Dixon said:

'This report makes an important contribution to the debate about NHS accountability at a critical time for the service and we welcome its acknowledgement of the need for primary care trusts (PCTs) to be more accountable to their local populations.

'Thankfully it does not recommend any large-scale upheaval of existing NHS structures, for example handing over control of health services to local government.

'As the King’s Fund’s own report, Should Primary Care Trusts Be Made More Accountable? noted accountability can mean different things in different contexts. PCTs need to take more account of local people's views and be more active in giving an account of their decision-making to the people they serve. This report makes some constructive suggestions on how to achieve this - through better resourced Overview and Scrutiny Committees, for example. But while PCTs are funded by general taxation there will also need to be accountability 'upwards' to central government. The key is to work out ways of balancing local accountability with national accountability so that central government remains answerable for the money it raises and spends on the public’s behalf.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. Should Primary Care Trusts Be Made More Accountable? by Ruth Thorlby, Richard Lewis and Jennifer Dixon was published on 10 April 2008.
  2. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  3. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.