Nuffield Trust responds to Coalition Government announcement on NHS Commissioning Board

Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Dr Jennifer Dixon comments in response to today's statement from the Department of Health on the future of SHAs and the setting up of an independent NHS Commissioning Board.

Press release

Published: 25/05/2010

Commenting in response to today’s statement from the Department of Health on the future of Strategic Health Authorities and the establishment of an independent NHS Commissioning Board (now NHS England), Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Dr Jennifer Dixon said:

‘The new NHS Commissioning Board may help reduce involvement by ministers in the day to day running of the NHS, which is to be welcomed. But the test of the independence of the new national board will be if the Secretary of State for Health can stay above what will be highly contentious political decisions made locally, such as closures to patient services.

‘Increasingly tough decisions will need to be made if the NHS is to achieve the unprecedented efficiency savings needed up to 2015. In the light of the Coalition Government proposals to strengthen the voice of local people in shaping their health services, there could be a gap in legitimacy between the new board and locally elected boards of primary care trusts.

‘Today’s measures will also help to streamline commissioning, which is vital if the NHS is to finally move towards strengthening the way patient care is purchased and organised.’