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We’ve been talking and the Government has shown it’s listened

The Government has today announced changes to the NHS health reforms following a two month listening exercise.

The NHS Future Forum published a report yesterday outlining recommendations to the Government after listening to public views on the changes to the NHS. We've been heavily involved since the exercise began in April and are pleased the Government has signed up to many of the recommendations we've been calling for, including:

  • More focus on integration and this to be reflected in the role of the health watchdog, Monitor. Collaboration between professionals and services is essential to delivering the best possible treatment for people with long-term conditions
  • A wide range of health professionals, not just GPs, being involved in commissioning, and recognition of the valuable role of clinical networks
  • Establishing Public Health England as an executive agency to maintain the independence of its expert scientific advice
  • Placing a duty on the Secretary of State for Health to promote research and ensuring that a culture of research and innovation is embedded in the arrangements for both the NHS Commissioning Board and Public Health England
  • Clinical commissioning groups to have a duty to promote research and innovation, and commissioners to fund the treatment costs of patients taking part in research.

We also welcome the commitment to further clarify the duties on commissioners to involve patients, carers and the public to better reflect the principle of “no decision about me without me”. We're looking forward to seeing the detail on this.   

Betty McBride, our Director of Policy and Communications, said:

“This is a great example of how a genuine conversation can result in positive change to legislation. Of course, the finer details have yet to be nailed down and of particular concern is how the patient voice will be heard properly in the clamour of reform.

“It’s important the Government now keeps up the momentum created by the listening exercise to ensure these changes become embedded in everyday practice.”

NHS research

In response to the Government recognising that medical research is vital to delivering high quality care, our Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg said:

“The government has rightly recognised that research and patient care in the NHS are intrinsically linked, and the reforms should ensure that research is given appropriate priority in the commissioning process. Without this commitment it would be impossible for the UK to maintain its hard won reputation for outstanding medical research. But the devil will be in the detail of what commissioners are actually prepared to fund.

“Heart patients in the UK today benefit from a wealth of evidence-based treatments, many of which have come through drug trials undertaken within the NHS. This has contributed to the remarkable progress in the fight against heart disease over the past few decades.

“The BHF is anticipating spending an extra £50m on its Mending Broken Hearts programme of regenerative medicine research to find new treatments for heart failure. Success will depend crucially on being able to test new treatments in the NHS.” 

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