Challenging closures and cuts - How to
How can I challenge cuts or closures?
There are several things you can try. It is best to try several different approaches. Don’t give up hope if one does not work.
Talk directly to the service provider
A good way to start challenging possible cuts is to talk to the managers who run the service. The managers may also be against the cuts and may want to help you or put you in touch with other people who feel the same way.
Patient participation groups
Patients must be involved in the commissioning process. You can join a patient participation group at your GP’s surgery. This may give you access to the CCG and an input in the commissioning process.
Campaigning is trying to reach a goal by gaining public support for an issue you believe in.
If you decide that you want to campaign, it is important to do some background work. You need to make sure that you have evidence to back up what you say. There is information on how to get evidence here.
You can find lots of helpful information on the ‘Campaigns’ section of the Rethink Mental Illness website here.
There may be a local service user group or NHS patient campaigning group in your area. If there is, they may already be campaigning on the issue or they may be able to support you with your campaign.
Campaigning can take up a lot of time and can be tiring and frustrating. Think about whether this will affect your mental health and if it fits with the other things your life.
Take part in the public consultation
A consultation tells the public about proposed changes and asks for their views. Local authorities or the NHS should only make significant cuts if they have a public consultation first.
The consultation will tell you how you can give your views. This could be by an online survey, email or letter. They should give you time to respond and enough information so you can respond in detail.
The local Health Watch services role is to inspect local health and social care services. By speaking to your local HealthWatch you can raise your concerns about cuts. These may be escalated to the national service.
HealthWatch have a seat on local Health and Wellbeing Boards and can challenge clinical commissioning decisions.
You can find your local HealthWatch here.
Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWB)
Health and wellbeing boards are a partnership between the NHS, public health and local government. They have a legal duty, with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), to produce a joint health and wellbeing strategy for their local population.
The members of a local HWB should include senior health and social care managers of the local authority, someone from the CCG and at least one councillor.
HWBs have the right to challenge the CCG’s decisions to cut services. You could ask to speak to your local councillor or MP about your concerns. They could feed back these concerns to the HWB.
Judicial review is a type of legal case. It means that a judge decides whether a government body acted legally or not.
If you have tried all the steps above and feel that they have not worked, you may want to think about asking for a judicial review. There is more information about judicial review here.
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