Lengthy Health Bill debate risks alienating clinicians, think tank warns

Drawn out negotiations about the Health Bill in the Lords risks alienating clinicians who are 'vital' to the successful implementation of the reforms, the Nuffield Trust has warned.

In a briefing document ahead of the Lords’ debate on the Health Bill starting Tuesday, the Nuffield Trust said what is needed now is ‘strategic certainty’ about how the reforms will operate.

It called on the Lords to push for detail about how the Bill will be implemented and how the new organisations, such as Monitor, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the NHS Commissioning Board will operate.  

It said: ‘Although the Bill sets up the outlines and broad expectations of the new organisations... much will depend on the culture and modus operandi of these bodies as they carry out their functions.’

The briefing said next week’s debate should focus on the authorisation process for CCGs and discuss the freedoms CCGs will have to design financial incentives for their member practices.

The recommendation echoes comments made earlier this year by Labour peer Lord Phillip Hunt who said CCGs must be given levers to ensure constituent GPs comply with their aims.

The Nuffield Trust also said peers must also discuss whether the clauses relating to the health secretary's duties will allow reasonable autonomy for NHS organisations but also ensure the health secretary remains politically accountable for the performance of the NHS.

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