Responding to publication of the Mandate David Worskett, director of the NHS Partners Network, said:
"We welcome publication of the Mandate and its clear commitment to giving patients the choice that they want through extension of any qualified provider into a much wider range of services and the strengthening of patients' legal rights to choice. We look forward to seeing the detail of the "Choice Framework" when it is published.
"Real choice, not only of provider but also of different approaches to patient care depends on having a diverse range of providers who can enter the market relatively easily and are free to innovate in the interests of patients and of taxpayers.
"We very much welcome the Mandate's requirement on the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) to develop a fair playing field and to improve procurement so that the process is open and fair and will help all providers. That will be crucial in enabling providers from all sectors to compete for contracts which will help drive both innovation and quality of care.
"What is not as explicit as it could be in the Mandate is that it is providers who actually deliver patient care. The NHSCB will need to work actively to support a strong provider industry in order to deliver these objectives, which are now rightly pitched at a more strategic level.
"Independent providers look forward to working in partnership with the NHSCB and Clinical Commissioning Groups to turn the goals in the Mandate into a better reality for patients."