The King's Fund welcomes more powerful voice for London's NHS

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Commenting on the announcement* today that John Bacon will be the interim head overseeing the proposed reorganisation of London's strategic health authorities, The King’s Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'We welcome John Bacon's appointment as interim head of the proposed London-wide strategic health authority. His authority and experience should provide the right leadership during this transitional phase.

'It is right that London moves from five strategic bodies to one. It should enable London's NHS to have a coherent and powerful voice, leading to better management of care services for its population.'

Commenting on wider changes to the Department of Health Niall Dickson said:

'While we have broadly welcomed the direction of NHS reform we have been dismayed by some of the recent moves by the department, dismay that was reflected in the recent report from the Commons Health Committee.

'The idea of a director of commissioning at the department sounds sensible - but we remain concerned about this vital function. In particular we would like to see greater clarity over the role of practice-based commissioning in which GP surgeries take responsibility for much of the local NHS budget.

We urge the government to create more powerful incentives for practice-based commissioners to act as a counter-weight to hospitals who are now being given strong financial incentives to treat more patients. The willing and active involvement of family doctors will be critical to the success of the government's reforms.'

Notes to editors

* This announcement refers to the NHS and Social Care Bulletin (20 January 2006) Department of Health Personal Note from Chief Executive Nigel Crisp: Transition Arrangements in the NHS and the Department of Health.

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King's Fund issued a formal response to the Health Select Committee's inquiry into potential changes to primary care trusts’ functions and numbers arising from the Department of Health document, Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS, which was issued in June 2005.
    Consultation response: changes in primary care trusts, a Health Select Committee consultation
  3. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.