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Field calls for Monitor to promote integration

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government should consider placing a duty on Monitor to support integrated care to help ease fears over the use of competition in the NHS, the chair of the Government’s listening exercise has advised.

Professor Steve Field told delegates at Tuesday’s NAPC GP-led commissioning conference in London that feedback to the exercise had uncovered a raft of concerns about the possible negative impacts of competition on the NHS.

The Government’s Health and Social Care Bill has outlined plans to expand the role of Monitor so that its primary focus is to promote competition, but critics have warned this will damage integration across the health service and threaten working relationships between GPs and hospital doctors.

Professor Field said: ‘People want some choice and some competition. But what they don’t want is their NHS destablised.’

‘What we’re picking up around the country are lots of concerns. One of my suggestions so far is that, if we are going to have the bill in some form as it is at the moment, I believe putting a duty on Monitor to support and encourage integrated healthcare around the patient might be one of those solutions.’

He told Pulse: ‘I’ve been promoting, as part of the listening exercise for the last month, the idea that we might ask Monitor to have a duty to encourage or support integrated care.’

Professor Steve Field