18. January 2011 17:02
The NHS needs to make unprecedented efficiency gains if it is to meet the demand for healthcare against the savings targets outlined in the Nicholson Challenge, a House of Commons Health Committee report says.
The NHS commissioning report highlights the need for more effective commissioning and makes a number of conclusions on how the Government’s reforms can be effectively introduced.
Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the Committee, says the NHS has “repeatedly failed” to benefit from similar opportunities that commissioning creates but must now “take full advantage”.
The report also says the White Paper proposals to abolish SHAs and PCTs came as a “surprise” to most observers. It says that the ‘surprise’ created an uncertainty among commissioners and has since increased the risks and costs associated with delivery of making £20bn of efficiency savings.
Ahead of the Health Bill being released, the Health Committee also outlined a number of crucial issues it believes the bill should address. These include effective and accountable commissioning that requires the engagement of the entire clinical community; commissioners being able to adopt integrated service solutions when these offer best value; commissioners considering innovative proposals for primary care; and being able to reconcile conflicts between enhanced patient choice and their own financial and clinical priorities.
“The Health Bill represents a major opportunity to get these policy questions right,” said Mr Dorrell.
“The Health Committee believes these objectives are shared across the political spectrum and will make further recommendations about how they can best be delivered.”
In response to the commissioning report’s recommendations, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says the bill will “provide a clear legislative framework to increase autonomy and accountability at every level in the NHS”.