Politics: Charities advise Tory Party on NHS

Nathalie Thomas

Health and volunteering charities are helping the Conservative Party to develop policies on the NHS.

The Making a Difference in Health partnership, a group of seven organisations including Attend, TimeBank and WRVS, met shadow health minister Andrew Lansley last week to discuss how the voluntary sector can contribute to the NHS. They also talked about how health services can be made more accountable to communities.

David Wood, chief executive of Attend, said he would like to see a Conservative government create a more genuine way for communities to contribute to their local NHS trusts. He wants local people to feel a greater sense of ownership over their health services.

"The only way that will happen is if there appears to be a genuine interest in what people's contribution can be," he said.

Wood added that NHS Trusts could be run along similar lines to the hospice movement, where volunteers outnumber paid staff.

A Conservative Party member will continue consulting the group.

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