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Commissioners need 'independence' from government

Commissioners need 'independence' from government

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NHS England and CCGs need to “secure independence” from government in order for the new system to survive, according to Professor Malcolm Grant.

During a speech at the NHS Confederation Conference in Liverpool, the NHS England chairman said the model brought in by the Health and Social Care Act sees CCGs largely as “masters of their own destiny.”

By working from national standards but with locally prioritised outcomes, Professor Grant believes maintaining independence from central government will give the system stability.

Professor Grant said: “In the last 20 years we’ve had a new secretary of state every two years.

“If there’s one thing we have to get from the past history of commissioners of the NHS is that the centre isn’t able to hold control properly.”

‘Game-changer’

Yet Professor Grant also said NHS England is considering how commissioning can be redesigned to bring about needed changes.

An independent report into the problems rolling out NHS 111 will be launched at the next NHS England board meeting, on 18 July 2013, it was revealed.

He said: “This is going to be a critical report.  I think the era of being resistant to self-criticism is a thing of the past. I’m not going to say that we inherited NHS 111, we took it on board and did whatever we could to resolve the issues.”

According to Professor Grant, the report will outline how the service can be made sustainable as well as look closely at the commissioning process.

“I think NHS 111 is a game-changer in the way that it adds fundamentally to the service that we provide.

“Openness has to go through the whole system, but it starts with us,” he said. 

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