By Laura Passi
The role of Monitor is to be significantly changed, but 'any qualifying provider' should remain the way most services are commissioned.
The NHS Future Forum report says it should be clearly stated in the health bill that Monitor is not designed to 'promote competition' or be an 'economic regulator'. And that its primary function should be 'protecting and promoting' the interests of patients.
The forum wants to see the introduction of safeguards around the promotion of competition and advises measures to prevent providers from 'cherry?picking' the most profitable services, and to ensure that people with complex health conditions are not excluded.
The NHS Commissioning Board will outline how every GP consortium can meet these parameters and Monitor will be responsible for ensuring consortia are achieving this.
The report says: 'We have heard concerns about the concept of "any qualified provider" but many of these organisations are charities and social enterprises as well as independent providers and are currently providing excellent services that people choose to use.'
'There is a wealth of talent and untapped resource in our country's third sector which can benefit the NHS, so there is a good argument for greater commissioning from alternative providers of care where appropriate. On this basis there is no strong case for changing the policy.'