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CSP responds to MPs’ report on commissioning

20 January 2011 - 4:47pm

The CSP has backed warnings from MPs today that root and branch restructuring of the health service is a high risk strategy, while welcoming recommendations to ensure a wide range of health professionals are involved in the new GP-led commissioning arrangements.

The report on changes in NHS commissioning from the all-party Commons health select committee found the White Paper policy to dismantle strategic health authorities and primary care trusts and transfer commissioning powers to GPs ‘introduces significant institutional upheaval into the NHS’ at a time when trusts, under the target set by NHS chief executive Sir David Nicolson, must achieve £15-20bn of efficiency savings by 2012.

The coalition government was also criticised for not adequately discussing or consulting on its plans prior to publishing its radical health strategy in July.

Findings reflect CSP concerns

Responding to the findings, CSP chief executive Phil Gray said: ‘The health committee’s report reflects many of the concerns that the CSP and other health unions and professional bodies have about the scale and speed of the government’s proposed reform of the NHS.

‘The report states that the ‘Nicholson challenge’ was already a high risk strategy, and that the White Paper increased the level of risk considerably without setting out a credible plan for mitigating that risk’. They said the NHS reforms were “not fit for purpose”.

Speed causes 'chaos'

The committee was also very critical of the speed with which the government changed its position, Mr Gray said. 'In May, in its published Coalition Agreement, it said “we will stop the top down reorganisation of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care.”

'Yet the committee says that only two months later this was abandoned with Mr Lansley’s White Paper announcing a massive reorganisation, including the abolition of the PCTs, SHAs and the closure of much of the Department of Health. This has caused chaos with many good PCT managers leaving and private companies, such as KMPG in London coming in to take the PCT’s role.'

'Clear role' of physio in commissioning

However, Mr Gray said the report’s emphasis on the need to create greater clinical engagement and leadership in commissioning and draw from as wide a pool of practitioners as possible was particularly welcome.

‘The CSP is urging the government to ensure that physiotherapists and other AHPs have a clear role in informing GP- led commissioning so that wide expertise is used to plan services which truly meet the needs of patients into the future,’ Mr Gray said.


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