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Norfolk health bosses backtrack in consultation row

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:04 02 July 2010

Sarah Brealey

Health bosses in Norfolk have backtracked on their refusal to say more about the suspension of a consultation on proposals which could force some of the most seriously ill people into nursing homes.

Health bosses in Norfolk have backtracked on their refusal to say more about the suspension of a consultation on proposals which could force some of the most seriously ill people into nursing homes.

Earlier this week, the Evening News reported that NHS Norfolk was refusing to explain any more about why a consultation on the way NHS continuing healthcare is provided had been suspended after it had started.

It would only say that it wanted to wait for the outcomes of the national debate about long-term care in the NHS.

After the story appeared in the Evening News, NHS Norfolk, which is running the consultation with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said that it wanted to give more details about their reasons.

It now says that the consultation has also been put on hold because of the local elections due to be held in Great Yarmouth and Waveney on May 6 - a date which has been fixed for many months.

An NHS spokesman said that because of the local elections, “the public consultation would have had to be either suspended or significantly extended to ensure the public had an adequate chance to respond. Cabinet Office guidance states that publicity for the consultation would have to be suspended during an election period.”

He said the decision came after “clear advice” from the strategic health authority and that the decision was taken because of the local elections and irrespective of the general election, which might be on the same day.

In fact the Cabinet Office guidance only refers to general elections, not local elections, and is aimed at government departments rather than local health trusts.

NHS Norfolk has previously run consultations which overlapped with local election campaigns.

The consultation has cost £1,060 so far.

What do you think? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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