MPs recommend 'vital' health bill amendments

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MPs have proposed that GPs should share NHS commissioning duties with other representatives, alongside a number of other significant amendments.

They also believe that GPs consortia should be renamed and control commissioning for primary, secondary and community care, meaning the government's proposed local health and wellbeing boards would be unnecessary.

The announcement's timing is particularly key, coming a day after Andrew Lansley MP, the Health Secretary, announced a pause in the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill through Parliament to listen to national concerns about the reforms.

The Health Select Committee said its changes were ‘vital' to enable the NHS to meet the unprecedented challenge it faces of finding 4% annual efficiency savings over the next four years.

Stephen Dorrell MP, chairman of the committee and former Health Secretary, explained: "We believe it is crucial to get the reform of NHS commissioning right if the service is to confront the massive financial challenge it now faces.

"Our report contains a set of practical proposals to strengthen the Health and Social Care Bill and make it better able to meet the Government's objectives. Our proposals are designed to ensure that NHS Commissioning involves all stakeholders - GPs, certainly, but also nurses, hospital doctors, and representatives of social care and local communities.

"We believe this broadening of the base for commissioning is vital if we are to achieve the changes that are necessary to allow the NHS deliver properly coordinated healthcare," he added.

The full list of suggestions included all NHS Commissioners (GP consortia) having an independent chair, appointed by the NHS National Commissioning Board, and a chief executive and finance director, both of whom should be members of the Board.

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