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New phase of ‘listening exercise’ on NHS reforms begins

The Government has pledged to ‘continue its listening exercise' by launching a second phase today, led by NHS Future Forum chair and GP Professor Steve Field.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has asked the NHS Future Forum to focus the new phase of the listening exercise on four areas, and how best they can be delivered by GP commissioners: integrated care, public health, education and training, and the continued delivery of the Government's information strategy.

The announcement comes as prime minister David Cameron is expected to continue to drum up support for his beleaguered NHS reforms on a series of publicity events later today.

The latest phase of the listening exercise will conclude later this year, when Professor Steve Field will again present a summary of his findings to ministers, with a spokesperson indicating the exercise will last ‘months rather than weeks'.

Professor Steve Field said: ‘If we want the health and care system to change and meet the challenges of the future, then it is essential that we make sure that the thoughts and concerns of clinicians and, importantly, patients and service users, are listened to.'

‘With a broader membership across health and social care and a defined focus, I believe the NHS Future Forum will stimulate important debate on issues that really matter to people.'