Commenting on the Health and Social Care Committee's report on the Government’s White Paper proposals, Daniel Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The Health and Social Care Select Committee’s report is a timely and considered analysis of the biggest set of NHS reforms in a decade. We are grateful to the Committee for inviting us to give evidence and for listening to the voices of NHS leaders throughout their inquiry.
“This report reinforces the view from health leaders that the proposals set out in the Government’s recent white paper set the right direction of travel for the future of health and care in England. We believe that the proposals on integration and collaboration will help frontline services to move towards models of fully joined-up care, and that this will have real benefits for patients and residents.
“The Health and Social Care Committee does, however, note some areas of concern that the Government will need to address through forthcoming legislation. We are pleased, for instance, that inaction on social care is highlighted in the report. The NHS Confederation has long called for urgent action to be taken to address the crisis in social care, which threatens to be a significant barrier to system-working over the coming years.
“Similarly, we are supportive of the report’s strong recommendation on workforce planning. The NHS Confederation believes the white paper does not go far enough in addressing the scale of workforce shortages and has written to the Government to ask for accountability and responsibility to reside with the Secretary of State.
“And finally, we are pleased to see the report acknowledge the risks of increased powers over the NHS for the Secretary of State. The rationale for government seeking increased influence over the running of the NHS is unclear, and so we strongly support the recommendation for clear checks and balances over how and when the Secretary of State can intervene in local NHS services and processes.”