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Government responds to Future Forum report

14 June 2011

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The government announced that it would be accepting the core recommendations in the report from NHS Future Forum following an eight-week ‘pause’ in the Health and Social Care Bill to listen to concerns from NHS staff and patients.

The changes announced today include:

  • ‘Clinical commissioning groups’ will include a wider a range of experts such as nurses and specialists.
  • Monitor’s core duty will be to protect and promote patients’ interests, not promote competition as an end in itself.
  • The creation of a genuine level playing field to stop private companies ‘cherry-picking’ profitable NHS business.
  • Clinical commissioning groups will be allowed to take charge of commissioning when they are ready and able, not by April 2013 as originally planned.
  • There will be greater information and choice for patients.
  • There will be a new duty for clinical commissioning groups to promote integration within the NHS and between health, social care and other local services.
  • Details on training will be introduced carefully.

Following these changes, parts of the bill will be recommitted to parliament for scrutiny.

Speaking at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The detail of how we are going to make this all work has really changed as a direct result of this consultation.”

He was backed up by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who said: “Patients, doctors and nurses have spoken. We have listened. Now we are improving our plans for the NHS. ‘Yes’ to patient choice. ‘No’ to privatisation. ‘Yes’ to giving nurses, hospital doctors and family doctors more say in your care. ‘No’ to the free market dogma that can fragment the NHS. The right reforms at the right pace. Evolution, not revolution.”

The 45-strong NHS Future Forum, led by Professor Steve Field, will continue to lead on listening in the NHS focusing on education and training, patients’ rights and public health.

During the last two months 6,700 people have attended listening events, 3,000 comments were posted on the website and more than 25,000 emails were received as part of the exercise.

Department of Health