In a speech on the future of the NHS, the Prime Minister said Monitor’s ‘main duty’ was to protect and promote the interests of people who use health care services.
‘Monitor will now have a new duty to support the integration of services – whether that’s between primary and secondary care, mental and physical care, or health and social care,' he said.
The government will introduce ‘clinical senates’, he said. These will be ‘groups of doctors and healthcare professionals come together to take an overview of the integration of care across a wide area’.
Mr Cameron also said GP consortia would only take on commissioning when they were prepared to do so. ‘We will make sure local commissioning only goes ahead when groups of GPs are good and ready, and we will give them the help they need to get there,’ he said.
Answering questions after the speech, Mr Cameron suggested that the original plan for Monitor to be like Ofgen and other regulators was not rooted in a solid enough understanding of the NHS.
He also said that patient choice would benefit services that PCTs had previously been reluctant to fund. This would be the case, he suggested, for services provided by the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.