'The Health Select Committee has added its weight to the concerns expressed about the government's proposed structural reforms to the NHS. The Committee is right to highlight the risk these reforms pose to delivering on the key priority facing the NHS in the period ahead – finding up to £20 billion in productivity improvements to maintain services and improve the quality of care.
'The King's Fund supports the development of GP-led commissioning and welcomes the news that more than 140 groups of GPs have come forward to join the government's pathfinder scheme. We agree with the Committee that GP consortia must include input from other health professionals – this should be a key consideration in evaluating the pathfinder schemes. As the report also points out, consortia must find effective ways of involving patients and members of the public in commissioning decisions.
'We also endorse the Committee's comments about the important role of primary care trust (PCT) clusters in managing the transition to GP-led commissioning and delivering the efficiency gains needed. Where consortia are not ready to assume the full range of their responsibilities, the government's April 2013 deadline should be relaxed and PCT clusters left in place for as long as they are needed.
'The Committee has raised a number of important technical issues about the development of GP-led commissioning which it intends to keep under review through its future work. We welcome the Committee's continued involvement in the development of policy in this area and hope the government will take its recommendations seriously.'
Notes to editors:
- For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2582 or on our out- of-hours mobile 07584 146035. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
- The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.