The level of uncertainly around the healthcare system in London and indeed across the whole of England remains high, particularly now that there has been an increase in the amount of media coverage on the Health and Social Care Bill.
Andrew Lansley spoke in the House of Commons on Monday and addressed the issue that the speed of the transitiion has created substantive concerns. He explained that the Department of Health wants to continue to engage with and learn from experts, patients and frontline staff within the NHS and beyond.
He also told the House that they propose to take a natural break in the passage of the Bill to pause, listen and engage with all those who want the NHS to succeed, and subsequently to bring forward any amendments that may improve the plans further.
In addition the Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Andrew Lansley held a press conference yesterday to expand on the comments made in the Commons on Monday.
This press conference helped clarify the fact that plans for GP-led consortia, Foundation Trusts, the National Commissioning Board, and HealthWatch are continuing, as is the abolition plan for PCTs and SHAs.
The Department of Health will be setting up an NHS Future Forum, which will work with clinicians, managers and local government to listen and engage. Andrew Lansley has asked the forum to provide a report on four key themes: choice and competition, patient involvement, engaging other professions, and education and training.
Due to this 'pause' in the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, there will be some changes to key dates. SHAs will now be abolished on 30th June 2012. The new Monitor, National Commissioning Board, Trust Development Authority, Health Education England, and Public Health England will not be established until 1th July 2012. There are still plans to abolish PCTs on 31st March 2013.
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