RCN responds to NHS reform announcement

Published on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 15:02
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Royal College of Nursing has said the Government is 'absolutely right' to give nursing staff a guaranteed place on commissioning boards (June 14th)

In response to speeches by Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on the future of NHS reforms in England, Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said the College was pleased the Government reconised the difference nurses on commissioning boards will mean to patients.

The speeches follow a 'pause' in the Health and Social Care Bill's passage through parliament, to listen to views on the proposals for the future of the NHS in England.

Dr Carter said: “During the listening exercise, many of our concerns have clearly been taken on board. However, there is a great deal more to do. These reforms have to be absolutely right if the NHS is to face the challenges ahead, especially at a time when the service has been tasked with saving up to £4 billion per year.

"We know this is resulting in cutbacks, which are affecting patient care on the ground, and we will now work closely with the Government to address some of the concerns which still exist.

"We therefore welcome the delay in moving over to these new structures. With the bill now returning to the House of Commons for further scrutiny, we hope these announcements will be enshrined in law and supported to become the reality on the ground."

He added that nurses have an unparalleled range of skills and experience to enable them to improve health care at every level, and are able to help build a service which can manage long term conditions, keep people out of hospital and improve the health of the public.

Dr Carter also said: “The Government has clearly listened to the concerns that the RCN and others have raised about the role of Monitor, and will now scrap plans for the regulator to promote competition as an end in itself.

"We have always said that competition over price must not override quality, and it is right to pledge additional safeguards against ‘cherry picking’ of easy services.

"We are also pleased to hear of the commitments to full transparency once the commissioning groups are established. It is only right that with so many new organisations, any which operate on behalf of patients should be open to their scrutiny.”


Source: RCN

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