The umbrella group for health and care charities has criticised the government for attempting an extensive overhaul of its mandate to the health service, as NHS England pressures ministers to change their plans.
National Voices’ submission to the Department of Health’s mandate consultation says it also opposes ministers’ proposal to include requirements to implement the “vulnerable older people plan”, which the DH is developing.
The government published the first mandate, which sets out what the NHS must deliver until 2015, in November last year. However, in July it proposed a series of changes, including the older people plan.
NHS England has criticised the DH’s proposals and said it has “specific policy concerns”, although it has not said what these are.
The consultation on the mandate ended last week and NHS England is understood to be in the process of pressing the DH to back down on the plans.
NHS England board members’ main concern is agreeing to an extensive revision of its instructions just a few months after it formally began work on the first mandate, in April, senior sources told HSJ. They are concerned it could set a precedent for revisions every year.
National Voices, which represents more than 150 national and local health and social care charities, echoed the misgivings. Its response questioned “whether it is appropriate at this point to drop so many new or revised objectives into the new commissioning system”.
The group added: “We fully support the ambitions the government has proposed for vulnerable older people.
“However, we support the same ambitions for all people who need multiple services over time, and who would benefit from person centred coordinated care.
“Selecting and prioritising one sub-group of the population that requires coordinated care risks undermining progress towards wider system transformation.”
National Voices also criticised the DH’s approach to changing its priorities, as well as measures to change charging arrangements for migrants.
Final proposals will be published later in the autumn.