NHS reform 

30/09/2011 
The Government published its Health and Social Care Bill on 19 January 2011, marking the start of the draft legislation's journey through Parliament.

Doctors' surgery corridor

The Bill followed the July 2010 health white paper, Liberating the NHS, which spelled out the most significant changes to the NHS since it began, including major implications for the workforce.

NHS Future Forum

In April 2011 the Government established the NHS Future Forum to listen to concerns about the legislation. The forum, chaired by Professor Steve Field, made 16 overall recommendations to the Government on 13 June which it accepted on 14 June.

The Government's response to the forum report included an announcement of key changes to its plans for reforming the NHS, specifically:

  • reaffirming that ministers are accountable overall
  • wider involvement in clinical commissioning with GP consortia being called 'clinical commissioning groups'
  • stronger accountability
  • safeguards on competition
  • support for integrated care
  • a more phased transition. 

Developing the NHS Commissioning Board

On 28 July, the Department of Health published a People Transition Policy for the NHS Commissioning Board to guide the first round of appointments to the Board. 

And read the initial thinking about how the NHS Commissioning Board should be designed, published on the Department of Health website on 8 July. Developing the NHS Commissioning Board describes to stakeholders, partners, pathfinders and staff who may potentially work for the board, its potential culture, style and leadership.

The NHS Commissioning Board began work in shadow form in October 2011, chaired by Professor Malcolm Grant with Sir David Nicholson as its chief executive.

PCT and SHA clusters

Visit the Department of Health website for:

Summary of the Bill for employers

Read our January 2011 key extracts summary of the Bill which has details of the key clauses for employers and visit our Health and Social Care Bill web page for more information about the Bill itself.

We await further details but will keep employers up to date with the changes relevant to them through our latest news page as information becomes available. We will also highlight changes in our weekly NHS Workforce bulletin.

Transitional arrangements

The NHS Operating Framework 2011/12 was published on 15 December 2010, setting out plans for the first year of transition to the new arrangements.

Transitional arrangements for staff in primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) are the most immediate area of concern for employers. A HR strategy update was published as an annex to David Nicholson's letter on the transition. Read more about the NHS Operating Framework.

NHS Employers will support trusts with these changes and will be adding information, links and resources to our managing the transition web pages.

The timetable was set out in the Government's next steps document and are summarised on our key dates page.

Enabling excellence - command paper

On 16 February, the Government presented a command paper, Enabling excellence - Autonomy and accountability for healthcare workers, social workers and social care workers, to Parliament. The paper sets out its strategy for a strong, proportionate and cost-effective system of regulation for UK healthcare workers and social workers and social care workers in England.

Read more about the command paper.

Your views

The Government announced several consultations following the publication of the white paper and NHS Employers contributed to the NHS Confederation response on behalf of NHS organisations.

Three NHS Employers' policy board members helped to inform the response from an employer's perspective as part of the NHS Confederation's reference group. Read the NHS Confederation responses.

Tools and resources

Our tools and resources page brings together the relevant resources from NHS Employers and external organisations to help trusts with issues such as staff transfer, service redesign, staff engagement, redundancy, resignation, talent management, and health, work and well-being. This will grow as new resources become available. Please email whitepaper@nhsemployers.org with your suggestions and submissions.

We're particularly keen to hear from trusts who have examples of good practice or shared learning that could help their colleagues dealing with similar issues. To submit your case studies, please email sharedlearning@nhsemployers.org.

More information

Read our NHS Employers' summary of what the white paper means for workforce, including key dates for employers.

NHS Confederation

For summaries and analysis of the white paper, including a briefing for MPs and perspectives from the NHS Confederation networks, see the NHS Confederation's NHS reform web section

Department of Health

The Department of Health website houses the Government's command paper, the NHS Operating Framework and David Nicolson's letters to the NHS. It also includes the white paper itself, consultation documents and supporting publications. See the Liberating the NHS section.

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