NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) today welcomes a report from the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee on integrated care, but cautions that now is not the time for significant primary legislation.
NHSCC submitted a response to the inquiry and Julie Wood, chief executive of NHSCC, gave evidence to the Committee in March, representing the views and experiences of our members, who are leading the transformation towards integrated models of health and care in their local areas.
Responding to the report, Dr Graham Jackson, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners and Clinical Lead for Buckinghamshire ICS, said: “The Health and Social Care Committee’s findings mirror what our members have been telling us for some time. As commissioners, our priority is to ensure the services we commission deliver the best care and outcomes for our patients and populations, which is a key point highlighted today. As clinicians, we can see the benefits that STPs and other models of integration have, and it is vital that there is strong clinical involvement, especially around planning for primary and community care.”
Julie Wood, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, added: “I am pleased the Committee has recognised the benefits that integrating across health and care could bring to our local populations. It was good to see that they have identified the efforts and progress that has already been made in ”difficult circumstances” but also rightly describe some of the main challenges that commissioners and providers are attempting to overcome as they strive to deliver the much-needed change at scale and pace within the current NHS framework. Our members tell us that there are certainly some legislative changes that would help remove some of the roadblocks, particularly with regards to easing current competition and procurement regulations that are built into the 2012 Act. However, we would caution against starting with any significant primary legislation as recent experience of this has shown that it is expensive and distracting, and has the potential to slow the progress of transforming services for our patients. If we allow local leaders to continue their evolution, giving them the freedoms and flexibilities to find what works best for their place and populations, legislative changes can follow to embed and enhance those solutions.
“We have been asking Government and the arms lengths bodies, on behalf of our members, for a clear national narrative on the direction of travel for transformation, a strong long-term workforce strategy and a ring-fenced transformation fund to ensure the limited NHS pound is used to best effect, so we welcome and support the Committee’s recommendations in these critical areas”