In response to the Prime Minister’s speech on NHS reform yesterday, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) welcomes the promises to ensure continued investment and a patient-centred National Health Service. The shift in the proposed role for Monitor from promoting competition to one ensuring that services are integrated is positive as is the signal that clinicians will now be involved in the commissioning of services via ‘clinical senates’.
The RCOG, along with the other royal colleges and healthcare organisations, have expressed concerns over the last few months in specific areas in the Health and Social Care Bill. The Coalition Government, it appears, is ready to make some concessions. How far these go will be reflected in the changes to the bill when it returns to Parliament.
To reiterate, the RCOG believes that it is in the interest of the NHS and the GP Commissioning Consortia to have clinical input. Competition has the potential to improve choice and services but checks and balances must be put in place to ensure that high quality and safe care is provided to all. Finally, it is important to ensure that any qualified providers have some responsibility in the provision of postgraduate medical education and training and that these are carried out to the same exacting standards as that which NHS providers are subject to.
Dr Tony Falconer, President of the RCOG said, “The Prime Minister has made five very bold guarantees in an attempt to reassure the public and the medical profession of his Government’s plans for NHS reform. Each addresses the key points of accessibility of services and the perimeters of competition.
“After two months of uncertainty and speculation brought about by the pause, we can now move forward. We agree that change is needed but stand by our previous view that the speed of change as proposed by the Health and Social Care Bill was too fast. We need to slow down in order for systems to embed.
“We look forward to viewing the amendments to the bill and to the Future Forum’s report to Government.”