The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Adults and Community which to provided a policy summary of the recent NHS White Paper published on 12th July 2010 and explored the possible implications for the Local Authority.
The Board was further advised that the Health White Paper, 'Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS' represented possibly the most radical restructuring of the NHS since its inception. It would transform how health care was commissioned, with around £80 billion being transferred to new GP consortia.
The key proposals were as follows:-
· extending patient choice over providers and treatment;
· establishing an independent NHS Commissioning Board;
· ensuring all health trusts are foundation trusts by 2013 and giving them greater freedoms;
· the transfer of commissioning to GPs and the abolition of PCTs and SHAs;
· transferring the public health budget to local authorities; and
· giving councils the responsibility to promote integration and partnership working.
The following points arose from the discussion:-
· the excellent partnership arrangements that Halton had with GP’s was noted. It was also noted that there could be an opportunity to further develop the partnership via the GP consortia and that each consortia would be able to decide what commissioning activities they would undertake themselves and what they would buy in;
· concern was raised that the radical changes could have an impact on the quality of care over the next few years;
· the importance of retaining the integration and partnership working was noted. It was also noted that standards would need to be maintained and early advice given on resources available to maintain the quality and effectiveness of care during the changes;
· It was noted that it was proposed to transfer the Public health function to the Council. It was also noted that the transfer would require the right level of resources;
· It was noted that the Government were committed to reducing the NHS’s management costs by more than 45% over the next four years. It was also noted that this would cause significant disruption and loss of jobs and would incur transitional costs between now and 2013;
· It was noted that more detailed documents would be published shortly and the White Paper was the main overarching document for NHS reform;
· It was noted that comments on the White Paper had to be sent by 5 October 2010 and Members were assured that supplementary papers would be circulated to them with a briefing note when they became available for comments;
· It was noted that the Health partnership had undertaken some work during the last six months in preparation for the changes; and
it was noted that an audit
on resources was currently being undertaken in the
(1) the contents of the report and comments made be noted; and
(2) information on the supplementary proposals be circulated to Members with a briefing note for comments as soon as they are available.