Andrew Lansley spoke at the Commissioning 2011 conference this morning to confirm the latest changes following the pause. He confirmed that the government has accepted all of the Future Forum's core recommendations emphasising that the remit of the Future Forum was to improve the Bill and not to rewrite it or undermine its principles. Mr Lansley spent some time justifying the pause saying that it is crucial to get the legislation right even if that means delays. He also sought to reassure delegates that the government will protect NHS values while clarifying the responsibilities of commissioners and providers.
Mr Lansley said that he feels the case for change to the NHS has come through strongly during the pause both on financial grounds and to reflect clinical needs. He emphasised the need for improved efficiency and a focus on improving outcomes. Interestingly he conceded that waiting times do remain an important measure and will remain low.
He also confirmed that instead of GP commissioning consortia there will be clinical commissioning groups. These will now have a governing body instead of the minimal prescription originally proposed. One thing which seemed to be controversial among delegates at the conference was the new proposal that the governing body must include one registered nurse and one secondary care doctor neither of whom is employed by a local provider. Delegates questioned whether this would be workable in practice.
For more information see the government's response to the Future Forum's report.