We are today laying before Parliament the Government’s response (Cm 7877) to the Health Select Committee report on commissioning, which was published on 30 March 2010.
The range of the Health Select Committee’s inquiry and their report recognise the scale and complexity of the challenge we face. Commissioning is a crucial process in the NHS. It ensures that the health and care services provided effectively meet the needs of the population. It is a complex process with responsibilities ranging from assessing population needs, prioritising health outcomes, procuring products and services to managing service providers.
Since the Health Select Committee’s inquiry, there has been a change of administration following a general election in May 2010. The Command Paper published today therefore sets out the present coalition Government’s response to the Health Select Committee’s fourth report of the session 2009-10.
The White Paper, “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS”, published on 12 July 2010, sets out our proposals for transforming the quality of commissioning by devolving decision making to local consortia of GP practices supported by an independent NHS Commissioning Board.
The weaknesses in commissioning identified by the Health Select Committee are symptomatic of a system that did not emphasise the importance of clinical involvement in decisions about how the precious resources of the NHS should be spent. We have set out in the White Paper a clear sense of direction, with new rigour and the commitment to put commissioning decisions in the hands of those who are closest to patients themselves—GP practices and other primary care professionals.
Today’s publication is in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.