19 January 2011
Today sees the first reading before parliament of a detailed Health Bill which ushers in a fundamental reform of Health Care in England. President of the Royal College of Surgeons, John Black responds:
“The RCS welcomes the opportunity for greater clinician involvement in designing healthcare services laid out in the publication of the Health Bill today (Wednesday 19th Jan, 2011). This is detailed legislation and it will be in the detail that this ambitious vision stands or falls. Strong, unmediated links and sharing of evidence at a local level between GPs and hospital consultants are going to be vital to commission specialist care for complicated conditions, especially for those illnesses where the best quality for patients can only be delivered on a regional basis. The legislation leaves the question of regional level commissioning unanswered with no intermediary structure put in place. The RCS, will work constructively, both nationally and locally, with primary care organisations to help fill that gap.
It is a very positive step to see that the National Commissioning Board have been mandated with a “duty to innovate” – this puts the promotion of best new treatments at the very heart of the NHS for the very first time.
The legislation does not make explicit provision for secondary-care clinicians to input at the National Commissioning Board and local consortia levels – this is an opportunity that must not be missed and we would wish to see strong surgical representation in both.
Education and training of the next generation of surgeons relies on NHS hospitals seeing a mix of patients. If the move to “any willing provider” led to simpler cases being hoovered up by new providers the costs of training new surgeons could soar and the stability of acute NHS services be compromised. All new providers must be mandated to allow access for training and to make sure that when surgeons are working for them they contribute data on their performance to national audits – this will help ensure constant quality and provide the revolution in patient information the Secretary of State calls for.”
Notes to Editors
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