Lord Warner said: ‘The need to strengthen professional executive committees is a high priority. It is imperative that we take action to ensure clinicians and healthcare professionals are involved in decision-making.
‘It is also clear we need to move away from the current one-size-fits-all approach so that these committees can better reflect local circumstances. The discussion we are now embarking on is the next step towards making these goals a reality.’
NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said: ‘The professional executive committee was always intended to provide a focus for clinical leadership by introducing primary care clinicians into formal NHS management structures and decision making.
‘Perhaps its early years have not been altogether comfortable, but it is growing up fast and knows where it wants to go. Most importantly, it is here to stay.’
The consultation will run until 31 January 2007, with updated guidance planned for the first quarter of 2007. New arrangements will come into effect from April 2007.