Responding to the legislative reform proposals published today by NHS England and Improvement, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:“This is a good start – we need much more effective integration if we are to create a health and care service that can meet the needs of patients and respond to rising demand for care.“No-one wants another time consuming and distracting reorganisation – we have had too many of these already. But we do believe that a limited and targeted set of legislative reforms could help to make it easier to create more effective and integrated services. We therefore support the proposed changes and the idea of an NHS Bill to replace parts of the Health & Social Care Act which are no longer fit for purpose.
“We are pleased to see that the earlier proposals to enable NHS England and Improvement to direct mergers between NHS foundation trusts have been abandoned. However, we remain concerned about new central powers to impose capital spending limits on providers and this needs to be considered further.
“Changes to legislation alone will not deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan – so much will depend on the quality of local relationships between different parts of the system. But this is a welcome step forward. And, as ever, the success of any reforms will come down to the detail and there is still work to be done to flesh out some of the proposals.
“We will work with those involved to refine the proposals and ensure the views of our members – front-line NHS, third sector and independent leaders – inform their development.”