The government is launching a panel which it has named a “Future Forum” to advise to changes on its NHS reforms.
Health minister Lord Howe made the announcement at the HSJ GP Forum today. He confirmed the process would be chaired by Steve Field, immediate past chair of the Royal College of GPs, as revealed by HSJ earlier today.
The panel is expected to advise prime minister David Cameron, deputy Nick Clegg and health secretary Andrew Lansley after they decided to delay the process of the Health Bill by a month.
Speaking at the GP Forum, Lord Howe said there was agreement on the “principles” of its changes but “what we are hearing is we really do need to get the implementation and detail right”.
He said: “We are setting up what we are calling a Future Forum.” Lord Howe said it would “act as a kind of conduit” for policy concerns and issues.
Professor Field has been one of the leading supporters of the government’s GP commissioning plans.
It is believed four areas of work will be led by Julie Moore, the University Hospitals Birmingham chief executive and a former nurse; Kathy McLean, the NHS East Midlands medical director; Geoff Alltimes, chief executive of Hammersmith and Fulham Council; and Sir Stephen Bubb, the chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.
The Department of Health has declined to confirm details.
HSJ understands David Kerr, a health adviser under former prime minister Tony Blair and professor of cancer medicine, is also on the panel. It is expected to be launched at a hospital south of London today.
HSJ understands the government has been approaching people to ask them to sit on the panel in recent days, and will continue to invite others.
The terms of reference of the panel have not yet been confirmed to participants. Some were informed as late as last night.
Members are understood to include NHS figures such as strategic health authority medical directors, as well as representives and experts from outside the NHS.