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Health bill ‘pause’ puts back reforms three months

By Michael Klimes

The abolition of SHAs has been postponed as a result of the Government's health bill 'listening exercise', NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has revealed.

Sir David wrote to GP pathfinders and NHS managers across England this week setting out the impact of the 'natural break' in the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill through Parliament on the timetable for the NHS reforms.

Sir David said that five key developments due to take place in April 2012 would now 'take place no earlier than July 2012'. However he confirmed that the handover of full commissioning responsibility from PCTs to GP consortia remained on track to take place in April 2013, and a DH spokesperson told Pulse that the timetable for the development of GP consortia 'would not be affected at all'.

The areas delayed by at least three months include the abolition of SHAs, the NHS Commissioning Board's assumption of full statutory powers, Monitor taking on the first phase of its new powers, the assumption of full powers by the NHS Trust Development Authority, Health Education England and Public Health England, and the establishment of HealthWatch England.

He added: 'The creation of shadow bodies and the appointment of senior staff to these organisations will also be delayed to allow time for the engagement process to take place.'

Sir David Nicholson described the changes to the timetable as 'very significant' Sir David Nicholson described the changes to the timetable as 'very significant'