MANY readers will be following the ‘modernisation’ of the NHS as it proceeds behind the barricade of initials (NHSE for England; NHSI for Improvement; CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group; HWB – Health and Wellbeing Board; PPG – Patient Participation Group, etc) and the health forum is here so that the public can take part in or observe the deliberations.

The health forum is supposed to provide a means whereby the public can be alerted to such proposals, for example mergers of CCGs, awarding of contracts to outside providers or charges for newly ‘rationed’ surgical procedures – the sort of things of concern to people generally.

When I and a fellow concerned member of the public duly turned up at Monday’s meeting of the Warrington HF at Arpley House (a new venue for the WHF) however, things did not turn out promisingly.

The receptionist was as courteous and helpful as someone can be who hadn’t been informed that the WHF was meeting, let alone in what room. After finding the room we were greeted with the refrain ‘this is not a public meeting, nor a meeting in public’ and were refused admittance.

This is how developments in the brave new world of post-Health and Social Care Act 2012 ‘modernisation’ proceed – hidden in plain sight.

Under the aegis of the NHSE, a CCG can try something out on its own patch before it might become national policy.

It does not bode well that such proposals are first aired behind virtually closed doors.