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RCOG statement on the Coalition Government’s response to the NHS Future Forum report

News 15 June 2011

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is pleased to hear that the Coalition Government has accepted ALL the recommendations of the NHS Future Forum in its response.

The RCOG welcomes the acknowledgement that health professionals besides GPs will be involved in GP Commissioning Consortia, now named ‘clinical commissioning groups’. The development of clinical networks and regional clinical senates will help ensure that high quality women’s health services are commissioned appropriately and the RCOG regards this news with much positivity.

On the issue of transparency and accountability, the plans to include patient groups and local communities in commissioning groups through the Health and Wellbeing Boards will mean stronger patient representation. This is entirely appropriate. This emphasis is also reflected in new duty of Monitor to protect patient interest instead of promoting competition.

In order to ensure that frontline services are maintained with the disbanding of the SHAs and PCTs, the Government will ensure that the expertise of the best managers is not lost but retained during the transition, as the NHS moves into a new system. This is welcome.

The move to enable partnership working between the NHS Commissioning Board, the Royal Colleges and other professional bodies will provide leadership in key practice areas at the national level. The RCOG argues that a National Clinical Director is needed in Women’s Health supports the Future Forum’s recommendations on this.

RCOG President Dr Tony Falconer said, “The Coalition Government are to be commended for having listened to the public, healthcare organisations and professionals. We welcome the recognition that not all commissioning groups are ready with the extension of the deadline for sign-up to beyond April 2013.

“However, some gaps still remain. We agree that in some areas, competition will work better than in others and, according to today’s announcement, there will now be safeguards to ensure that the patient is always first. More detail is needed on the role of the Office of Fair Trading or a similar body in the regulation of competition in the NHS.

“We look forward to seeing these changes written into the Bill and eagerly await their plans on the postgraduate medical education and training. The Government’s proposals for all providers to contribute to the costs of education and training will ensure a level playing field. In the meantime, we will continue to work with the NHS Future Forum on the reforms.”


To view the Government’s response, click here