Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has asked the national clinical directors to compile reports setting out the medical case for hospital reconfiguration.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has asked the national clinical directors to compile reports setting out the medical case for hospital reconfiguration.

HSJhas learned that she has asked the czars to produce reports which she hopes to unveil on 6 December in a bid to counter concern that the public will view all service changes as the result solely of financial pressure.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson has predicted that around 60 trusts throughout the country will have to reconfigure. Last week he wrote to MPs laying out the case for reconfiguration, saying it was needed to respond to patients' desire for care closer to home, technological advances and patient safety.

An internal Department of Health e-mail seen by HSJshows that Ms Hewitt has asked the clinical czars to produce reports on the 'clinical case for reconfiguration'.

National clinical director for older people Professor Ian Philp confirmed that he had been asked to write a report and said his would focus on how moving services to the community could improve his 'dignity and respect' agenda.

Institute for Public Policy Research research fellow Joe Farrington-Douglas said the government had been too slow in putting forward the clinical case for redesign.