The publication of the Health and Social Care Bill has signalled the most radical reform in the health service since its inception in 1948. Andrew Lansley’s intention is to improve the NHS by delivering commissioned services that are relevant to local patients’ needs, for outcomes to be the main focus, whilst involving patients more in their treatment decisions, and to liberate the ‘NHS from political micromanagement’. The bill is designed to continuously improve the entire healthcare system with emphasis on the quality of patient care and the patient experience.
The intention to transfer £60bn of NHS funds to Clinical Commissioning Groups has stimulated much debate and whilst most agree with the fundamental principles, there is scepticism as to how the realities will be achieved. It is hoped that budget holding will motivate doctors to deliver efficient coordinated care; however, to achieve this, the groups will need to ensure that primary care engages closely with specialist services in secondary care, public health, social care and the third sector.
A recent Nuffield Trust report has warned that: ‘there are clear risks of introducing GP commissioning when the government has placed such a strong emphasis on reducing management costs, and when proposals to develop extensive cooperation between primary and secondary care remain under developed.’
The BMA strongly believe that: ‘successful commissioning will only be achieved with GPs, secondary and tertiary care consultants and other clinical colleagues working together.’
The creation of 220 pathfinder groups covering 90% of the population will provide the test arena for partnership working and will indicate how the contentious issue of collaborating more fully with the private sector will evolve.
At Making Commissioning Work, the case for multi-professional involvement in commissioning will be discussed and analysed as to how effective it can be in improving patient care and health outcomes. Chaired by Tim Ringrose, representing the UK’s largest network of medical professionals and a programme of excellent speakers including doctor representative groups, health and social care professionals and commissioning leads, this unique event is an essential for all those involved with and affected by the new NHS commissioning model.