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Consultants to have ‘really big role’ in commissioning

Prime minister David Cameron has moved to reassure hospital doctors that they will have a 'really big' role in commissioning, with the Department of Health also confirming they expect specialists to be given places on GP consortium boards.

In a round of interviews this week designed to reassure doubters over the 'listening exercise' the Government is conducting on the NHS reforms, Mr Cameron said GPs would have 'the lead role' in commissioning care for patients, but confirmed the Government was looking at 'proper and substantive changes' to the health reforms.

These include looking at how hospital doctors can be more involved in the commissioning of services.

He told Sky News: 'What I'm finding is when you go particularly to hospitals, a lot of this is about reassuring clinicians in hospitals, hospital doctors, that they will have a really big part in this future NHS.'

'The worry is, I think, when they hear the word GP commissioning, they think it is only GPs that are going to be involved in the future and somehow hospital doctors will be left out. Now that's not the case but maybe we need to make that clearer in the changes we are making and that's one of the benefits I think we'll find from holding this exercise.'

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that they expect hospital doctors to take places on consortium boards.

'It's expected that consortium boards will be representative of different clinicians locally, but it will be up to the consortia to appoint people,' he said.

Deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has also pledged this week, in a letter to Lib Dem MPs, that 'family doctors should not commission services alone' and this demand was 'non-negotiable'.

David Cameron