It all began with an elegant, architect-designed skating rink in Gentofte that was unable to attract local youngsters. Gentofte Municipality involved the youngsters themselves in the process of making it more attractive, and this marked the beginning of the municipality's new approach to developing policy.
Politicians in the Regional Council for the Capital Region of Denmark are now following suit, and on Tuesday evening they decided to set up four task committees with citizens and politicians from the region and the municipalities.
They chose “the close and cohesive healthcare system” as their overall theme for focus areas for the four committees. The committees will look at how the region can contribute to cohesion and closeness in cross-sectoral collaboration with and on the patient.
A working group headed by Hans Toft (Conservative People's Party), Member of the Regional Council and Mayor of Gentofte Municipality, has been responsible for presenting a proposal on how to innovate policy work in a regional context through closer dialogue between citizens and politicians.
"Everyone in the Regional Council can be proud that the Capital Region of Denmark is the first region to show the courage, willingness and ability to implement actual democratic renewal.
The foundation is active policy development in collaboration with citizens from start to finish. I'm pleased that I've had the opportunity to head this work and that I've been able to contribute with experience from my own municipality," said Hans Toft.
Citizens to be part of the policy process
Chairman of the Regional Council, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democrats) has also served on the committee and she stressed that the hospitals in the region are already involving patients and relatives in committees and panels.
"But they usually focus on solutions for a single department or hospital. Politicians, citizens and patients find solutions together in the task committees that can be used across all hospitals and municipalities. We can talk directly with citizens without filter," she said.
The committees will be rooted in the northern, southern, middle and central (city) parts of the region. Each committee will be set up for a maximum of one year at a time, and meetings will be held at the acute care hospital in the relevant geographical area to ensure closeness with citizens.
The two first task committees will start their work in autumn 2019 and the two other committees in autumn 2020. Each committee will complete its work after a maximum of one year by presenting recommendations at a joint meeting to which the entire Regional Council is invited.
"We'll ensure rooting in the existing political work, so that the task committee doesn't end up a having a life of its own, but is incorporated in the initiatives we're currently working on," said Sophie Hæstorp Andersen.
She added that this work is a good example of how the region and municipalities together can involve citizens in finding solutions for local health services – without interference from the government.
At the Regional Council meeting in June, terms of reference will be presented for the two first task committees in the southern and central parts of the region.
FACTS – task committees
Overall focus areas for the task committees (to be defined in the individual committee's terms of reference):
- People with mental illness and drug abuse
- Children and young people as patients
- Pregnant women and women in labour
- Prevention and health promotion
A task committee consists of 15 members:
- 3 regional politicians (including 1 to chair the committee and 1 deputy chair) appointed by the Regional Council according to the D'Hondt method (all seats are allocated at once).
- 2 municipal politicians appointed via KKR Hovedstaden
- 10 citizens, including patients and relatives within the geographical catchment area. Citizens are selected according to their competences – based on the task the committee is to address. On the other hand, the committees are not for specialists or representatives from organisations.
Each task committee will present solutions for a more close and cohesive healthcare sector within a specific, defined focus area.
- Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democrats), Chairman of the Regional Council, through the on-duty press officer of the Capital Region of Denmark at +45 7020 9588
- Hans Toft (Conservative People's Party), Member of the Regional Council, chair of the working group, Tel .: +45 40 76 0176