About the NHS Future Forum

The NHS Future Forum is a group of clinicians, patient representatives voluntary sector representatives and others from the health field, including frontline staff, that will oversee the NHS listening exercise.  It will drive the process of engagement with staff, patients and communities over the coming weeks. The group will be chaired by Professor Steve Field, immediate past Chairman at the Royal College of GPs.

The Forum’s first task will be to report to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health on what they have heard on the following four themes:

  • the role of choice and competition for improving quality
  • how to ensure public accountability and patient involvement in the new system
  • how new arrangements for education and training can support the modernisation process
  • how advice from across a range of healthcare professions can improve patient care.

To inform its report, the group will undertake a range of activities, including:

  • facilitating local engagement events across the NHS to engage staff and leaders in improving our plans
  • engaging with existing professional and other networks from across the health sector
  • encouraging pathfinder consortia and early implementer health and wellbeing boards to contribute their views
  • using surveying, polling, digital engagement and other techniques to harness a wide range of views
  • a small number of national engagement events.

Following its initial report, which will be submitted by the end of May, the NHS Future Forum will continue to listen and advise on other non-legislative aspects of the modernisation plans, implementation of the changes, and the design of any secondary legislation.

>> See full list of NHS Future Forum members
>> See details of NHS Future Forum leaders

In News, NHS Future Forum | Tagged

31 Responses to About the NHS Future Forum

  1. Jon Restell says:

    Hi colleagues

    Can you point me to the full terms of reference for the Future Forum.


    Best wishes, Jon

    • ecp says:

      Hi Jon. We’ll publish more detailed information about the Forum shortly, and link to it from this page.

  2. David Rees says:

    Can you please point me to a document [two sides A4!] which explains to the public EXACTLY what problems in the NHS you need to solve with your current proposed solutions .

    Please consider in any ‘new structures’/'GP Consortia’ at local level sufficient places for ‘lay people’/'patients’ to sit on these boards and become the New Ambassadors for the NHS, assist developing the service,reducing costs, supporting NHS staff as a world class public service.

  3. Mary E Hoult says:

    I am pleased with the new forum membership announced during this listening exercise,our area of Yorkshire & Humberside seems to have 4 members whom I’m sure will tell it like it is.Hopefully this will result in more time to get the policy health & social care changes agreed

  4. Prof Howard McNulty says:

    It seems that the Forum is focussed on the NHS rather than the Nations Health and on competition rather than collaboration. The these for listening seem rather peripheral and narrow.

    The composition of the forum seems to undermine the notion it will engage with many professional networks, apart from doctors and nurses.
    The lack of any public health professional, pharmacist or PAM means the forum will miss many potential opportunities for new ways of working and may not even properly understand the points made by the wider professional networks or patients or the legal implications of any proposals in those areas.

  5. Dr Kate Fallon says:

    I do not see a representative of the NHS Community sector on the membership list.
    This is a significant part of the NHS- we also need a voice. We have much to offer within the transformation agenda, particularly linking secondary, primary and social care in integrated pathways

  6. ruth marsden says:

    When and where and for whom will meetings/events be held?

    • web editor says:

      Thanks for your question.

      Once details of the events have been confirmed, we publish them on this website.


  7. tracey righton says:

    I would also like to suggest that AHP’s (allied health professionals) sit on this forum. Having been part of a joint commissioning group focused on improving a county speech and language therapy (SLT) services it was evident from the very first meeting that all those around the table who were not SLT’s would be completely unable to deliver the aims of the group without the presence and input of a dedicated SLT.
    It is also my experience that medics and nursing staff generally have only a limited knowledge of the role of the AHP, and thus would be unable to fully take into account the implications for patient care when delivering services which require AHP input/provision. Thus it would make alot of sense to have us represented at the planning stage to hopefully avoid major problems with service delivery when implementing the forums’ recommendations.

    • Jenny says:

      I definitely agree. I am a Speech Therapist as well and even the referrals we receive (from both hospital consultants and GPs) often reveal how little our role is understood. I would be very concerned if no AHPs were represented (this also applied at the commissioning level).

  8. Kate@DH says:

    Thanks for all the comments on the membership of the NHS Future Forum.

    We have tried to make sure that the membership of the Forum is broadly representative of a very wide range of different voices from, and around, the NHS. However, we have been listening to your comments and we have sought to address important omissions where appropriate.

    See details of latest members.

  9. JanMmiddeton of London Cure the NHS says:

    How is it representative?
    You have one person out of forty three listed as a patient representative.
    You have Geoff Alltimes, CEO ofLB&F Council, as a lead member. He and LBH&F councillors have persistently refused to engage with London Cure the NHS about mistreatment of patients and poor standards at Charing Cross hospital – there is yet another patient horror story in the local paper, Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle, this week where the elderly patient suffered from the type of abuse witnessed by me and raised with ICHT and H&F Council since 2009.
    Alltimes similarly refused to investigate my concern about the poor and incompetent standards of H&F PCT which he manages – despite the DoH tellingh im to investigate my complaints.

  10. Howard Catton RCN says:

    There have been press reports that there are some policy “red lines” that the Forum must not cross. Are you able to clarify this ? Many thanks

  11. David Smithard says:

    I would echo the call for a Community Trust representative as they are key to the implementation of many changes

  12. Vorobyey says:

    I would like to know more about the one person who is representing all the service users of the country. Who is she? Where is she from? How was she selected? What is her background? What is her involvement with the wider service user community? Does she know about the problems of rural communities as well as urban ones? Does she really know what it it like to live in poverty?

    • Norma says:

      I would also like to know more about this lady. How does she qualify to speak for all service users? Why are there not more patient representatives?

    • e.bloch says:

      absolutely! Surely it is imperative that there are more lay people in this forum, to represent effectively all the different parts of society (urban, rural, and from the more deprived areas of the country)

  13. Dr Chris Hill MBE says:

    Will the forum make it clear to the general public, the UK Tax-payer and service users, that GP’s are private businesses that are awarded contracts to deliver NHS primary care services?

    The general public and patient’s need to understand the implications of handing over both clinical and financial responsibility for the delivery of NHS services to what is in effect private business (GP’s).

    At the current time the majority of the general public could be much better informed about this fundamental dimension.

    • Norma says:

      I agree with Dr Hill that the general public should be made more aware that GPs are private businesses. However, I feel that the issue could be made clearer, but it can also become more clouded when the mantra ‘for the benefit of the patient’ is used in response to questions and/or comments on the proposals.

      Although I am aware that there is a large number of doctors who are genuinely concerned about their patients and community, my concern is that small empires will be built by others. Monitoring and accountability may be the way to avoid this.

  14. Jane Tilston says:

    Hello, my concern is that the proposed bill results in the fragmentation and ultimate demise of the NHS and its universal health care and its value for money. To change this into a fully competitive market situation means losing the NHS to the search for profit and benefits for shareholders rather than the population. The expertise which is NHS trained, which saves lives, develops good practice and supports those with long term conditions is at risk from this bill, and the NHS is not safe in the hands of those wishing to pass this bill. Please do not let us lose one of our great achievements – making it more efficient is one thing, sacrificing it to the large health care companies who can see profit is not in the interests of the health of the nation, and is not supported by sensible professionals who work within the NHS. Education and training, the support the NHS services gives to private sector in terms of back up services, all those initiatives and specialist services which support those with chronic and acute illness, these need preservation within our national health service. So I plead with the Forum not to tinker with the bill and accept its basic premise but to reject it as a whole.
    Thank you

  15. Rowena Myles says:

    I would like to endorse the comment made by Dr Chris Hill regarding handing over the commissioning of healthcare services for what are in effect small private businesses. Also I would challenge the ability of GPs to commission the range of healthcare services that are required to meet the needs of the population. Their knowledge base is often quite narrow and from my experience have no real understanding of the needs of their local populations. In many respects if the government wish to save money the starting point might be primary healthcare services. Given the salary commanded by GPs and the limited service on offer I would question whether it is a cost-effective service.
    In any event even if GPs were in a position to commission the full range of services, they would still require an army of support staff, probably the same people who are currently employed in the PCTs. In conclusion the proposals in the Health and Social care Bill are not about ensuring better services it is about driving down costs and will further increase the inequalities in health in our society

  16. David R Reed says:

    GPs whether in consortia or not are utterly incapable of delivering better health care, they are only gatekeepers to the NHS on behalf of patients and should not be given more power. They should focus all their energies on getting the best for their patients and do not have the skills, training or inclination to monitor, evaluate or otherwise deal with the whole of the NHS. For this we need expert bodies able to see what is happening right across the system and beyond, into the wider world, and then having the power to enforce better standards at all parts of the NHS. And bringing in competition and all the stuff that goes with that, including bribery and corruption, will be a disaster.
    We want a publicly accountable system ensuring that patients in all parts of the country get the same high level of health care provision close to where they live. The proposed reforms will not do this, they will only fragent and distort the provision of helath care, making it even more of a lottery than it is at present.
    To improve any system you need standards and enforcement which is independent, open and democratic.

  17. Nick Osmond says:

    I agree with David Rees (13 April) – there should be some role for patient representatives.

    Personally I believe that not just GPs but other health care professionals should be represented in the proposed consortia.

  18. Ian Sinclair says:

    My understanding is that the new provisions are intended, among other things, to provide a more central role for GPs and increase the opportunities for the private sector. The private sector is already involved and GPs appear to be playing something like the proposed role in Cumbria. So it seems that there is nothing in the current arrangements that will prevent the organic development of whatever is good in the new proposals. Why not let things evolve naturally rather than impose a massive reorganisation from the centre with all the costs and risks that that involves? I thought that the Government was supposed to be against such centralised upheavals. Did anyone expect these changes when they cast their votes at the last election?

  19. paul.e.hudson says:

    I think we must all be getting fed up with propaganda from the right wing of our society where profit is the god to bow to and disappointed at how ineffective (or perhaps right wing themselves) the Liberals have been over the NHS.

    It seems fairly clear that all the changes mr Lansley has worked on for the last x years are all about a fundamental change in the NHS from being a Social service to a place for profit for some. I suppose it must annoy the conservative group that such a popular and effective scheme was set up through a socialist idea of what society should look like.

    This is not about better services, or better anything except better profits for some private groups. One wonders why the Doctors were chosen to be the recipients of commissioning, and the answer would tbe that Mr Lansley thought we all adored them and would let the bill go through because of that. There is little here that sets out to improve the lot of the patients.
    Paul Hudson

  20. Dr Anthony Molyneux says:

    Everyone can see this whole “listening exercise” is a joke – just an expensive PR ploy to make it look as though the government really have taken on board public concerns.

    They will press ahead with the out-and-out privatisation anyway, of course, possibly with a few tokenistic clauses thrown in to allow the Lib Dems to save face by telling themselves they’ve won a few concessions. While senior journalists (whose cherished careers depend on being wilfully naive in the face of power) might fall for this though, the public are wise to it now. People have learned the lessons of the Blair era and know how the public relations industry works.

    The ruling elite faces a crisis of legitimacy at the moment. No-one believes a word they say now. The last time there was such widespread distrust in institutions of power, coupled with such brazen contempt for the public interest from those institutions of power, was, i would suggest, France in the run-up to 1789.

    Do your worst, Mr Lansley. Go ahead with your plans as you clearly have every pig-headed intention of doing. But you and your class should be prepared to reap the whirlwind.

  21. J.C. says:

    Healthcare as a science driven knowledge-based professional activity is and must change continuously. The question is how should professional concerns drive the quality of the service which bears little resemblance to a business in a competitive environment?
    – Medicine is not in any way about competition for customer appproval. Patients as customers cannot judge professional service until after they have themselves met with success or failure – and, if failure, they have already lost.
    – Just as important, while competition and choice as a principle removed from practice may seem appealing, there is nothing appealing about choices between various unknowns particularly when confronted by the disabling circumstances of many patients. In reality, few know enough to make good medical decisions about choice. So choice becomes a hoax and an excuse for failing to provide universal excellence.
    – Moreover, the organisation of competition and choice itself becomes a large and non-productive cost. Good medicine does not thrive on competition (although it does need serious professional oversight, record keeping and regulation (see NICE)), nor should it be viewed by its administrators as a competitive enterprise. It is an essential public service the quality of which substantially affects both national and individual livelihood. They are not to be farmed out to private interests that slip beyond oversight and regulation.

    These were fundamental principles in the founding of the NHS and continue to be elementary to the practice of good medicine, but what the founding principles did not include or anticipate was how to develop the NHS as its science-driven field itself develops. The real question here and now might be how to create an organisation and process that is able to exercise its professional judgment in reconfiguring NHS services as its demands change. Good solution is not likely to come from those outside the fields of public health, health economics and the applications of science in medicine, and it would be astoundingly arrogant to think that it might!

  22. paul martin says:

    The idea of allowing/ requiring doctors to negotiate contracts for the purchase of drugs (etc etc ) failed abysmally under a previous Conservative government .Why repeat it ?

    Doctors are not trained to do this nor is it appropriate that they should spend time on this when they have more than enough to do at the front line.

    Why make sweeping politically driven changes , when any normal business ( and the NHS is a business ) would carry out properly structured trials in different areas / formations to see what works and what doesn’t ?

  23. David Marsh says:

    I think the terms of reference for the Forum were much to narrow and will do nothing to give the public confidence in the future of the NHS. The government should give a firm commitment to the public that the private section will not be involved with the NHS now or in the future. And that the health of the nation will be looked after from the cradle to the grave, giving the very best in care and commitment at all times and that excelence in treatment and care will be at the forefront of the policy of the NHS.

  24. N Nelson says:

    A response to the Department of Health Paper: GOVERNMENT CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO THE NHS FUTURE FORUM, June 2011 [with extracts]

    Patient Choice:

    Quote: “Subject to evidence from the current pilots, the mandate to the Board will also make it a priority to extend personal health budgets, including integrated budgets across health and social care.”

    This White Paper will still abolish the Private Patient Cap [the cap on the number of patients treated privately by GP Consortiums and Foundation Trusts]. It will also still abolish the requirement to plough money earned from private patients, back into non-fee paying patient care.
    The need to make £20 billion in savings by 2014 and the abolition of the Private Patient Cap, creates an overwhelming incentive for healthcare businesses to plough their revenue into expanding private patient care. Of course non fee paying patients will drop to the bottom of the treatment queue. If you are paying for treatment you will expect to be treated first – or you will go elsewhere – wouldn’t you?

    Being at the bottom of the treatment queue will create an incentive for non fee paying patients to pay to ‘top up’ their healthcare. If they can’t afford to do that, what happens when their ‘personal health budget’ runs out? Will these people be denied treatment, or will they drop down into a third tier of the ‘New’ NHS? These are the first steps along the road to the creation of a three tier, expensive US style insurance based healthcare system, where healthcare costs are transferred from Government to consumers, who will foot the bill for administration and the cost of their healthcare.

    Quotes from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7714039.stm

    “The potential for this (insurance) market is phenomenal”

    “One firm said it could be bigger than the private medical insurance market, while analysts predicted the top-up ruling could mark a “pivotal point”.

    Of course: ‘The government might wish to provide cover for those who can’t afford the insurance (we have no idea what percentage of the population this would be) but this is likely to prove difficult to administer and possibly more expensive than providing the treatment on the NHS in the first place.’

    In their Pamphlet, Oliver Letwin and John Wood openly encouraged the creation of the establishment of ‘Trusts, Health Credits and private healthcare insurance [which they compare to a kind of car insurance]. This is where Andrew Lansley is still taking us.


    Quote: “We strongly expect that the majority of remaining NHS trusts will be authorised as foundation trusts by April 2014. It will not be an option to stay as an NHS trust, but there will no longer be a blanket deadline in the Bill for abolishing NHS trusts as legal entities. All NHS trusts will be required to become foundation trusts as soon as clinically feasible, with an agreed deadline for every trust. The stringent tests set by Monitor will remain and they will continue to obtain assurance from the Care Quality Commission as part of the authorisation process.”

    If the White Paper goes through, no one will work for the NHS anymore. They will be employed by their private business unit, providing services under the NHS Brand and that’s all. GP Practices and hospitals will effectively become private sector providers, paid by Government to either buy or provide healthcare.

    Quote: “We will have an effective failure regime that ends the culture and practice of hidden bailouts and gets the right incentives into the NHS, whilst protecting essential services. But we have heard concerns about the practicality of our current proposals for an up-front system of designating services for additional regulation, and we will be amending the Bill accordingly. “

    The amended Bill will still allow GP Consortiums and Foundation Trusts to raise capital on the buildings and equipment they will now effectively own. GP Consortiums and Foundation Trusts will become self contained businesses, responsible to their creditors if they default on their loans. What do you think will happen to publicly owned facilities if a GP Consortium or Foundation Trust folds? If a private healthcare provider takes over, they will take on the financial responsibility for servicing loans raised using publically owned buildings\equipment as collateral. They will become the de-facto owners of public property. The end of ‘hidden bail outs’ sends a clear signal to private healthcare providers, that failing hospitals are up for grabs, fixtures and fittings included.

    Clinical commissioning groups

    “Commissioning consortia will continue to be groups of GP practices, but we will make a number of changes to provide greater assurance that commissioning will involve patients, carers and the public and a wide range of doctors, nurses and other health and care professionals. To reflect this stronger emphasis on wider professional involvement in commissioning decisions, we intend to use the term “clinical commissioning group” to describe these local NHS organisations.”

    Currently the NHS spends £10 billion a year on transaction costs, administering the procurement of services from outside providers. The £10 billion is just spent on administration, the services provided represent another additional cost. This reduces the amount of money available to update equipment, buy drugs and employ front line staff. As more commissioning takes place, these service and transaction costs will still increase proportionately.

    Though some GPs may make interim arrangements to handle their newly expanded budgets, Andrew Lansley’s aim is that many, and eventually all GPs will hand commissioning over to Private Commissioning Companies [PCCs]. That means 60% [previously 80%] of the overall NHS Budget will be in private hands. These Private Commissioning Companies will determine which treatments are available to patients, based on affordable cost. PCCs will ration and commission treatment, not GPs. However, GPs and now Hospital Physicians and Nurses will now be held responsible for any denial of treatment.

    None of the above points were addressed in the Government response to the findings of the NHS forum. Despite the ‘listening exercise’ the legislation underpinning the move to a three tier, privately run, insurance based US style healthcare system remains intact.

  25. Dennis Morrod says:

    http://www.10000men.org an example of “care” in the NHS that has still not attracted National Screening for Prostate cancer -130,000 men, have died needlessly since screening was first mooted, and turned down, in 1997. Approximately, 10,000 men will die this year in the main, due to misdiagnosis – one man – each hour. Since the Dept of Health sent each and every GP a Prostate Cancer Risk Management pack in 2002 approximately, 90,000 men have died from the disease. As Dr C. Eden (top Urologist) wrote in May, 2010: ‘I must break ranks and what I am about to write will prove to be controvercial. I am ashamed of my profession in that 10,000 men die needlessly each year from Prostate cancer and many more are left with disturbing side effects…’