In a joint letter to the government's NHS Future Forum, NAPC chairman Dr Johnny Marshall and NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said consortia needed flexibility to evolve.
The letter said, rather than specifying the composition of a consortium’s board in statute, the authorisation process should be used to ensure other specialties will be involved in commissioning.
It said: ‘To do otherwise would return us to previous re-organisations which became fixated on over prescription leading to tokenism which fundamentally undermined earlier reforms. We would strongly urge you to resist any temptation to do the same this time.’
But the NAPC and NHS Alliance said it backed the government’s plans to hand clinicians responsibility for commissioning, outlining that the plans would lead to ‘dramatic improvements’ in the quality of services.
It said the provision in the Health Bill that commissioners would be held to account for health outcomes rather having a ‘prescribed focus on how they deliver their results’ was ‘very much welcomed’.
The letter said: ‘This mature and autonomous approach… is absolutely consistent with the autonomy enjoyed by Foundation Trusts, and should be retained as a key feature of the Bill.’