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RCS calls for greater clarity on role for medics in NHS Reforms

28 January 2011

The Royal College of Surgeons has produced an analysis of the government’s Health Bill ahead of its second reading before parliament.

RCS President John Black said:

“Alongside colleagues in the other Medical Royal College’s, I am concerned that some of the aspirations for a clinician-led health service envisaged by the Health Secretary are not born out by the legislation as currently drafted. In particular, the powerful new NHS Commissioning Board includes no formal requirements for clinician representation at the highest level and the process for how this body will be constituted is left opaque.

This new system will only fulfil the expectations invested in it if practicing clinicians of all specialties are able to co-ordinate, and engagement between commissioning consortia and local hospitals needs to be included as a responsibility. We are also concerned that minimum standards of care are not set out in the new arrangements to introduce greater competition. It is quite right that the government seeks the best value in health spending, but this needs greater detail if we are to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ with price squeezing out quality.”