Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Choice and Competition

I have been asked by the PM to chair a review of choice and competition provisions in the Health Bill as part of the current listening exercise. There are 4 of us who will lead panels reviewing aspects of the Bill, led by Steve Field , the former President of the Royal college of GPs.

The aim is to conduct a major engagement process and produce a report by end May for the PM and Andrew Lansley. It is an independent review- a point that I intend to take very seriously!

Perhaps a daunting task; as I said when I thanked David Cameron for handing me the political hot potato when the Panel met with him, Clegg and Lansley!

The ACEVO board have agreed I do this full time for the next 2 months , for which I'm grateful as this is not exactly an easy task. And I have to admit that after I had the call and said yes I then spent a sleepless night wondering quite what I'd agreed too!

But the reality is that reforms to open up choice for patients and citizens is crucial to a thriving an successful NHS. When 70% of the budget is spent on long term conditions and we all grow older for longer then the current NHS model will fail. We have to look at how we can extend choice so people can choose the right treatments and care plans that suit them. We need the many excellent health charities who work with people with long term conditions empowered to provide support , advice and research.

There is limited choice in our NHS at present. Extending choice will strengthen and protect the NHS for the future. Competition is merely a means to an end; it helps secure a greater diversity of providers to enable that choice to be made.

I think that government has , so far, failed to communicate this effectively. So part of my role is engagement with professionals, patient groups, community organisations ,unions and the third sector to see how we can ensure that citizens can get the best from the reforms and make the NHS even better.

I'm now on my way to No 10 where the PM is holding a round table for third sector organisations on health reforms. It's great that the very first event in the listening programme is with our sector.

So, blog readers, tell me your solutions for reform!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sir Stephen

It,s great to see such prominent figure in the third sector chairing this review. I am a member of the Barnsley Recovery Forum (formally service user forum) which is set up to put forward the views of people in recovery from alcohol and drug misuse. We work closely with the Barnsley Drug and Alcohol Action Team, with a vision of improving of services and choice. As this area is due to become part of the new
P H England in 2012 and is already linked closely to the NHS, I hope you will see my comments as relevant. For many years now we have been told we would have a real say in how services are delivered, but we still experience services been commissioned with little or no consultation and very limit choice in the type of services available. I am afraid that I don't feel a great sense of empowerment and until service led commissioning with brought to the front of the health and social care agenda I can't see things changing.


Robin Earl