Health Bill changes undermined by leaked memo
A leaked memo by NHS chief executive David Nicholson has cast doubt on the ability for significant changes to the health Bill.
The memo, claimed certain elements of the Bill cannot be changed, including the GP consortia and commissioning boards which will oversee them.
The news comes after the Health Committee suggested changing the consortia to commissioning authorities, and included councillors and other experts sitting on them, alongside the GPs.
It also called for health and wellbeing boards to be scrapped, due to perceived local authority involvement elsewhere, and despite being championed by the Local Government Association.
The prime minister, David Cameron, has begun a ‘listening exercise’ over two months, to offer health workers the opportunity to amend the plans. A forum of medical experts, led by Professor Steve Field, former chair of the Royal College of GPs, will report back by June on concerns.
But the memo raises doubts about the ability for changes to be made in the exercise, which Labour has dubbed a PR exercise rather than a genuine consultation.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said there will be ‘significant changes’ to the reforms, although it is unclear what those will be, and they will include the proposed reforms put forward by the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Cameron said: ‘This is a genuine chance to make a difference. Where there are good suggestions to improve the legislation, to improve the changes, those changes will be made.
‘The status quo is not an option.’
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