Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh has called for an end to the “democratic deficit” that sees unelected health chiefs making crucial decisions on healthcare.

The Lib Dem MP for Southport said he wanted to make NHS primary care trusts more accountable to voters.

He said PCTs should be forced to submit and gain approval for their yearly spending plans from elected local councillors.

Introducing his Local Health Services and Democratic Involvement Bill, Mr Pugh said PCTs had substantial powers to decide which drugs were available, which hospitals closed or moved, what after hours care existed and how GP and dental services were constituted.

He said: “All of these issues mean a lot to some people part of the time, and much to all people most of the time.”

Successive governments had resisted allowing elected councillors a say in such decisions “much to the satisfaction of hospital chief executives and health service managers”, he said.

MPs could raise the issue of hospital closures with ministers, only to be told it was a matter for “local decision-making”.

Mr Pugh told MPs he saw no reason why his model of increasing local accountability could not work.

The bill stands little chance of becoming law due to a lack of parliamentary time.