Today I am publishing the “Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control—Government response: choice of named consultant-led team” and associated guidance. The response, the contract implementation guidance and the impact assessment have been placed in the Library. Copies of the response are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.
This is the response to the questions associated with the proposal to offer patients choice of named consultant-led team in “Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control—A consultation on proposals”. The response to these questions is being published now to help the NHS plan for the next financial year. A fuller response covering all of the remaining questions in the greater choice and control consultation document will follow later this year.
This consultation sought views on the choice commitments first set out in the White Paper “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” (Cm 7881). The consultation period ran from 18 October 2010 until 14 January 2011 and I am delighted to report that hundreds of engagement activities were undertaken and 617 unique responses were received. We have heard from patients, service users, clinicians, care professionals, systems providers, voluntary sector organisations and many others. All these contributions have been analysed and have informed the ongoing development of our policy direction reflected in today’s publication.
A significant majority of respondents supported our proposed approach to implementing proposals to offer patients a choice of named consultant-led team at referral as set out in the consultation document. A range of issues were also raised around the need for good quality information to support choice; the impacts on providers’ ability to manage capacity and waiting times; and the development of specialist knowledge by consultant-led teams.
The issues raised in the responses to choice of named consultant-led team have been taken into account in drafting the contractual guidance published alongside this response, and the accompanying impact assessment.