The NHS Confederation has established a policy forum in a bid to increase its influence over government reform.

The forum has 20 members, including National Association of Primary Care chair Charles Alessi, University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Sir Robert Naylor, and Assura Medical chief executive Bart Johnson.

Eventually it is expected to include up to 30 people. It held its first meeting last Tuesday, to discuss how it would work and to determine its main priorities.

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar told HSJ the forum would aim to shape policy, not just comment on it. “In terms of policy, the NHS really needs to step up and take more responsibility itself about what the priorities need to be,” he said.

Mr Farrar acknowledged there was already a range of health policy think tanks, but said the NHS Confederation represented “every bit of the industry”.

He added:  “There’s no-one who’s on the pitch responsible for carrying out policy into action. We should be explaining what does good policy look like in the next decade.”

The forum’s “key priority” to start with was “defining value added management”, he said. It also wanted to use “scenario planning” technology similar to that used by the oil and pharmaceutical industries to consider what the NHS might look like in 10-12 years’ time.

This would add to the policy debate, which was often centred around the four to five year cycles of government, he said.