Several of the health committee’s key recommendations for changes to the reforms “fit with the policy” and could be made without disturbing it, a leading GP commissioner has said.
Government adviser and president of the National Association of Primary Care James Kingsland said requiring consortia to include members of other professions, for example nurses, on their boards was acceptable.
Requiring them to listen to the HealthWatch patient groups was also potentially a good idea, Dr Kingsland said. “My response to those is, ‘Of course’,” he said.
He was speaking to HSJ at the HSJ General Practice Forum event in London today.
The government has previously said it would not make such requirements because it did not want to be too “prescriptive” to those forming consortia.
Dr Kingsland said requiring consortia staff to follow the Nolan Principles of public life - another amendment suggested to improve accountability - was also a good idea.
He said: “The debate is whether it needs to be in legislation or in [NHS Commissioning Board] guidance.” But he said “if it needs to be in legislation” it was not a problem.
In relation to the prospect of slowing down the commissioning transition he said it had always been “naivety in the extreme” to expect consortia covering all areas to be ready in April 2013, and some would need “additional support”.
However, he said PCTs and PCT clusters must also be aware their existence was strictly time limited.
Dr Kingsland said some of the criticisms and concerns about the reforms had arisen because the government had tried to set out too much detail in legislation.
He said: “The primary legislation has got so big. Maybe it should have focused on those aspects that need primary legislation - for example decommissioning of statutory bodies - and made it clear the rest would be set out in [subsequent] directions.”