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Health Bill ammendments to outline key commissioning services

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is set to agree to a series of amendments to the health and social care bill including the stipulation that GPs must commission to limit controversial rationing measures, according to reports.

The concessions, revealed in Sunday’s Observer, are likely to set out the sorts of services that must be commissioned GPs, designed to prevent them from blocking access to some types of care for patients.

The move has been prompted by fears that CCGs could deny patients certain treatments because of their lifestyles, following the decision by the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group to withhold surgery from smokers and obese patients unless they agreed to undertake weight loss or smoking cessation classes.

The controversial moves have divided GPs in Hertfordshire and led to unease nationally about the potential restrictions that GP commissioners could employ under the reforms.

Asked to confirm details of the amendments, a Department of Health spokesperson said:: ‘The Bill safeguards the future of the NHS as a comprehensive health service’.