The Secretary of State's duty to promote a comprehensive health service restored. Secretary of State will be ultimately accountable for securing the provision of services – this duty will be exercised through the NHS Commissioning Board and other bodies.
Secretary of State now able to intervene only if institutional failures are 'significant'. New requirement on NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups to promote the NHS Constitution.
Clinical commissioning groups required to have a governing body that must adhere to Nolan Principles. Two lay members must be included to champion public and patient involvement and lead on governance.
Governing bodies must meet in public, with minutes of meetings and details of contracts to be published.
What is still unanswered?
How will the rights contained within the NHS Constitution be guaranteed?
How will the Prime Minister's pledge to keep waiting times low be measured and enforced?
Will the pathfinder scheme for commissioning consortia be properly evaluated and lessons learned to inform the roll-out of clinical commissioning groups?
Will the more prescriptive approach now set out in the Bill lead to over-centralisation and discourage locally led innovation?