Responding to the publication of the NHS Future Forum report, The King's Fund's Chief Executive, Chris Ham, said:
'We strongly welcome the Future Forum's report. The recommendations it sets out – if accepted by the government – will significantly improve the Health and Social Care Bill.
'The emphasis on integration is particularly significant and addresses a key weakness in the government’s original proposals. By strengthening collaboration and improving the co-ordination of services, integrated care offers the most promising approach to meeting the challenges posed by demographic change and the increasing numbers of people with long-term conditions.
'The 'pause' has served the NHS, its staff and patients well by allowing time to reflect on how to deliver the reforms the health system needs. But it is now time to move on. The government must now move quickly to endorse today's report, put an end to the disagreements that have dominated recent months and provide the direction and stability the NHS desperately needs to navigate the challenging times ahead.
'Despite the headlines generated by the reforms, the key priority facing the NHS remains the need to find up to £20 billion in productivity improvements to maintain quality and avoid significant cuts in services. Implementing the reforms while maintaining the focus needed to achieve this will be very challenging and will require leadership and management of the highest quality throughout the NHS.'