The DoH's response, ‘Liberating the NHS: Legislative framework and next steps’, explains that all consortia are likely to need to work collaboratively on some aspects of commissioning.
GP consortia will be able to pool resources locally in order to help manage volatility, such as the fluctuation in demand for low-volume but high-cost treatments.
The Health Bill will provide the necessary powers for consortia to collaborate, the DoH said.
The DoH's response to the consultation on the health White Paper also explains that the Health Bill will enable the NHS Commissioning Board to enter into pooled budgetary arrangements with consortia. ‘In this way, consortia will have flexibility to decide at what level to commission services that are outside the scope of national or regional specialised commissioning,’ the DoH said.
The responses also revealed that the Health Bill will remove the ability of health secretary to intervene in relation to any individual commissioner. Instead, the health bill will make clear that any requirements or objectives set by the health secretary must apply generically.
It said: ‘Where there is failure of an individual consortium, this will be a matter for the Board; ministers will in turn hold the Board to account for how well it discharges its oversight functions.’