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Field rejects ‘bureaucratic block on change’

Field rejects ‘bureaucratic block on change’


Professor Steve Field, Chair of the NHS Future Forum and the past chair of the RCGP, has vehemently denied that an increasing number of NHS organisations could limit GPs' commissioning powers.

Dr Clare Gerada, Field's successor as RCGP Chair, recently told a Public Bill Committee that post-'pause' the number of NHS statutory organisations has increased from 163 to 521 and said this had the effect of "massively increasing the bureaucracy… within the new NHS".

But in an exclusive interview with GP Business, Professor Field (pictured) rejected these figures. "Nobody knows how many statutory bodies there are going to be, because we don't know how many consortia there are going to be," he said.

"So taking a number to make a point is one thing, but actually we don't know. But [the number of statutory organisations] will be less than the number of PCTs and SHAs, I'm sure."

The number of bodies could also only be temporary, he said, during the move towards clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

"You're going from one system to a new system… where the statutory bodies actually are going to be the CCGs. So there will be a transition period where one moves to the other." He said the figure of existing bodies is "actually a snapshot of a [system] which is moving forward."

Professor Field also denied that clinical senates – collections of clinical specialists advising CCGs, recommended by the Future Forum following its listening exercise – would add to any structural complexity.

"The senates will help because they'll also link in to the networks to provide a forum for people to talk, to help plan services and should assist. But they're not a statutory body and they're not a bureaucratic block on change."

He told GP Business that leading the Future Forum exercise had been "an honour" and "an important and historic moment". He also insisted that during the process he had not felt "one iota of political interference", and praised the government's response to the Forum recommendations.

The full interview with Professor Field will be published in the Autumn issue of GP Business.


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