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Thursday 18th July 2019

Analysis of Health Bill

24th January 2011

HSJ and lawyers Beachcroft analyse the new Health Bill and the direction of government reforms.


The new Health Bill will create the new NHS Commissioning Board with significant powers over commissioning consortia that include setting standards for their creation, directing them, having them taken over and abolishing them altogether.

As regards the commissioning consortia which will take on responsibility for the majority of NHS services, there is little laid down as to how they will operate and be run with no requirement for a board or patient representation.

The bill develops the government’s plans for freedoms for NHS providers and greater competition.

Beachcroft suggest the removal of the cap on foundation trusts’ income from private patients could leave them open to competition law challenges, though FTs will be given further freedoms, including the ability to more easily merge with and acquire each other.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley suggests the reforms will actually limit his own power over the NHS.

However, Beachcroft say health secretaries will be able to "significantly shape the NHS through areas left to future regulations".

Also retained will be levels over directing Monitor, deciding what is commissioned by the NHS Commissioning Board, and directing local authorities’ over public health.

Reforms will cost about £1.2bn in the next two years with the average cost per manager expected to be £48,000 as planned management costs cuts are implemented.

With that comes an admission that the estimated cost, benefit and risk of the reforms could mean NHS staff losing patient focus during the transition period.


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