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The NHS Commissioning Board is formally established today. It is a new independent body with executive powers and exceptional responsibilities. In April 2013 it will take on its full range of responsibilities, and over the next six months will be assessing proposals for authorisation from over 200 new clinical commissioning groups.
A great deal of preparatory work has already been done by the NHS Commissioning Board Authority, a transitional body set up in October 2011, whose functions now transfer into the new Board.
Professor Malcolm Grant, Chair of the NHS Commissioning Board, said:
“With the launch today of the NHS Commissioning Board we enter a new phase in the history of the NHS. The Board is the centrepiece of a set of reforms whose purpose is to liberate the NHS from day-to-day political management. We will be focused exclusively on getting the best health outcomes for the people of England.
“The first step is our authorisation of the clinical commissioning groups. These are to be at the heart of the new, clinically-led commissioning system introduced by the Health and Social Care Act. These new organisations have the potential to transform health outcomes in their communities, and we will support clinical leaders in developing the innovation necessary in their local areas to achieve this.
“From 1 April next year we will also have responsibility for the commissioning of primary care and for the national commissioning of specialised services. Improving the health of patients and the population at large will be prioritised in every decision we make.
“For the first time ever, the Government is required by law to spell out what it wants from its investment in the NHS. This will take the form of a mandate to the Board, focused on health outcomes, and against which we will be held accountable for securing real and measurable improvements for patients. It is the emphasis on outcomes rather than processes that opens the door to clinical innovation and to addressing the different needs of different communities.”
Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS Commissioning Board, said:
“The formal establishment of the NHS Commissioning Board marks a significant step forward towards the transformation of the way we care for patients.
“We have been given a real, once in a lifetime opportunity to do things differently, by empowering our clinical leaders and ensuring that the needs and wishes of patients truly shape the health services they receive and deserve.”
Primary care trusts and strategic health authorities will retain their statutory functions and governance arrangements until their abolition on 1 April 2013.
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