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Sunday 15th September 2019

NHS Commissioning Board mandate to be shortened

27th September 2012

Concerns have been raised over the complexity of the government’s mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board.

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Now, it appears that ministers are preparing to significantly shorten and simplify the document following criticism of the draft version.

Consultation on the 600-page draft mandate, which contains 22 objectives for the board, closed this week but already organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS Confederation have raised concerns.

These include criticism that it has too many objectives and is not understandable to the public and proposals for measuring achievement against objectives are over-complicated.
HSJ has reported that the new health secretary Jeremy Hunt is open to the mandate – scheduled for autumn publication - being simplified, though he is also keen to ensure the publication date does not slip.

In response to the consultation, NICE said the draft mandate lacked “coherence” and warned measuring progress against the majority of the objectives would be a “major challenge”.

NHS Confederation deputy chief executive David Stout said his organisation said a balance had to be found between overloading the mandate with detail and putting so little in that it had “no teeth”.

The King’s Fund described the majority of objectives as “general and vague” and wanted it to focus more on the NHS outcomes framework, setting baseline performance measures for improvement and stretch targets in a few priority areas.

Director of policy Anna Dixon said the Department of Health seemed to have “lost sight” of what the mandate was for.


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