NHS commissioning board ‘live’
The NHS Commissioning Board officially starts work from today, the Department of Health announced.
The Board will initially operate as a shadow NHS special authority, which for the next 12 months will be working to establish clinical commissioning groups.
Subject to successful passage of the Health Bill through Parliament, the Board is set to become a full independent body from October 2012.
NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson said: "Building this new system over the next 2 years, while delivering for our patients, increasing productivity and improving the quality of care, is a major challenge.
"But I firmly believe that what we are trying to achieve - a stronger , more innovative and more coherent commissioning system - will be critical to sustaining the NHS in years to come."
The government's appointment of Professor Malcolm Grant, the Provost of University College London, to head up the Board has already caused controversy, however.
The decision to award the position to Professor Grant divided opinion among members of the Commons Health Select Committee, with some MPs concerned over his lack of experience of the NHS and unconvinced by his commitment and suitability for the role (click here).
Indeed, Grant provoked scathing responses from some MPs and the media for admitting during the Committee meeting last week that he does not himself use the NHS and that parts of the Health Bill were "unintelligible" (click here).
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By Caroline Price