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Future Forum calls for April 2013 deadline to be lifted

By The Pulse news team

GPs will not be forced take over control of NHS budgets in April 2013, but PCTs should not be given a stay of execution beyond that date, the NHS Future Forum has recommended.

The NHS Future Forum report, published today, called for the lifting of the deadline for GPs to take control of commissioning on 1 April 2013, and recommended that the NHS Commissioning Board is drafted in to fill the gaps in areas where PCTs no longer exist.

The Government had been widely reported as stepping back from a fixed deadline of April 2013, and in a speech to NHS professionals last week, Prime Minister David Cameron said GP consortia should only assume full control when they are 'good and ready'.

Professor Steve Field's report recommended the development of the NHS Commissioning Board should be fast-tracked to allow it to step into the breach in areas where GPs are not ready to take control of budgets.

Professor Field concluded: ‘It was right to pause and reflect. It has, however, been a destabilising period for the NHS and an unsettling time for staff and for patients. It is time for the pause to end.'

Specifically, the report recommended:

• That the NHS Commissioning Board should be established as soon as possible to ensure focused leadership for improving quality and safety as well as meeting the financial challenge during the transition.

• Those commissioning consortia that have demonstrated they are ready to take control of budgets and the commissioning process should be allowed to do so from April 2013.

• Where commissioning consortia are not ready, the NHS Commissioning Board should commission services on their behalf but provide all necessary support to enable the transfer of power to take place as swiftly as possible

• Overall, the Department of Health should move swiftly to set out a new transition timetable to provide clarity for all staff.

Professor Steve Field said the April 2013 deadline for GPs to take on commissioning responsibility should be lifted Professor Steve Field said the April 2013 deadline for GPs to take on commissioning responsibility should be lifted More on the NHS Future Forum report of the listening exercise

Read more on the NHS Future Forum report here:

Future Forum calls for April 2013 deadline to be lifted
Consortia should have to set up 'clinical senates'
Choice mandate 'to increase integration of services'
Commissioning under 'any qualifying provider' to remain
Deaneries 'should remain part of the NHS'

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