Alliance urges Bill changes
The NHS Alliance is calling for some key aspects of the government's Health and Social Care Bill to be reworked, in particular regarding competition regulation, accountability and GPs' contractual obligations.
The Alliance is concerned these issues could otherwise jeopardise the success of clinically-led commissioning.
Chief Executive Michael Sobanja reaffirmed the Alliance's support for the main proposals on commissioning, but he said that unless these issues are addressed "the service may become less integrated, less accountable, less fair and less transparent".
The organisation calls for more detail in the "Any Willing Provider" policy, to ensure collaboration among potential providers, rather than giving them free rein to "flood the market".
In addition, the Alliance recommends employing statutory bodies to act on behalf of and accountable to local communities, to ensure commissioning remains publicly accountable.
And among details requiring "urgent written clarification" is the need to remove tension between GP practices' collective responsibility to consortia policy and GPs' individual responsibilities conferred by the General Medical Council and practice-held contracts.
Sobanja added: "The direction of travel is absolutely right, and the Alliance needs to ensure that our values for the NHS - putting the public and patient interest first; accountability; equity; transparency; - are honoured by the reforms. We are fully committed to clinically-led commissioning and we believe that clarification of these issues would enhance the current reform programme and mitigate implementation risks often associated with significant change."
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By Caroline Price