London’s health care system needs strategic leadership

06 March 2014

The London Assembly Health Committee [1] heard today that strategic leadership is needed to manage health care on a London-wide scale.

Representatives from health bodies, including the Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England (London) and Healthwatch, told the Committee that London needs a cohesive decision-making body to provide a strategic overview of health services in the capital.

One year on from the introduction of reforms to the National Health Service local authorities are working well to manage health care across London boroughs. However, guests at the Health Committee meeting repeatedly recommended a leadership body to which could shape health care services across the capital to meet the needs identified on the front line.

This echoes the Assembly’s position on healthcare leadership in London, set out in previous committee work [2].

The Committee was pleased to hear services and commissioning groups are working to provide integrated health care to patients and empowering some of London’s most vulnerable people to raise their health care concerns.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee, said:

“London’s complex health care needs require strategic leadership to mould services that deliver properly for Londoners.

“We need a process that feeds information gathered on the front line into a strategic forum that can then take action across the capital.

“Given the Mayor has established a London Health Commission [3] to look at the many challenges London’s health economy faces, delivering the kind of health leadership London needs must be one of its key recommendations when the Commission publishes its findings later this year”.

Notes to editors

  1. London Assembly Health Committee met today to examine the National Health Service and Public Health Reforms, since they were introduced last year.
  2. In 2010 the Assembly proposed that the strategic functions of the London Strategic Health Authority, including the resilience and strategic planning functions should be transferred to the GLA rather than returning to central government. The Health Committee’s report, Risks to London A&E services this winter also recommended “a strategic convenor, to get the users and providers of healthcare services in the capital together to decide how services need to be reorganised and develop a plan of action”.
  3. In September 2013 the Mayor of London established the London Health Commission as an independent inquiry to examine how London’s health and healthcare can be improved for the benefit of the population.
  4. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Alice Andrewartha in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4603. For out-of-hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.