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Commissioning and Public Expenditure

Volume 522: debated on Monday 31 January 2011

I have today laid before Parliament the Government’s responses (Cm 8007 and Cm 8009) to the House of Commons Health Select Committee reports “Public Expenditure: Second Report of Session 2010-11”, which was published on 14 December 2010 and “Commissioning: Third Report of Session 2010-11”, which was published on 18 January 2011.

We accept the level of challenge presented in our modernisation of health and social care but we are clear that these changes are necessary and that the funding announced during the 2010 spending review, coupled with more efficient delivery systems, will allow the required change to take place across the health and social care sectors. These changes will bring about closer working across the sectors creating services that will be more responsive, more personalised and more preventative with better outcomes for those who use them.

The starting point for the Committee’s inquiry into commissioning has been the previous Committee’s findings on the significant shortcomings of the current arrangements for commissioning in the NHS. We welcome the Committee’s conclusion that more effective commissioning is the key to delivery of efficiency gains. The White Paper, “Liberating the NHS”, sets out a new direction for the future of commissioning, intending to put commissioning decisions in the hands of those who are closest to patients themselves—GPs.

The Health and Social Care Bill introduced into Parliament on 19 January takes forward the changes to the NHS set out in the White Paper and further developed in December’s “Legislative framework and next steps”.

The programme of modernisation we have set out is essential both to drive efficiency in the short-term, and help ensure that the NHS meets the ambition to achieve outcomes for patients that are among the best in the world.

Today’s publications are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.