NHS of the future needs new type of commissioners

25 June 2008
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26 June 2008 | Paul Snell

Increased choice for patients in the NHS will "radically" change the role of those commissioning and buying services.

A report into the future of the health service, published today by the CBI, said commissioners will soon become "managers of the market", ensuring healthy competition with a suitable number of suppliers, and making sure providers of services are adaptable and can take advantage of innovation.

The CBI has published its recommendations ahead of the government's report into the future of the health service by health minister Lord Darzi, due next week.

In the future commissioners are less likely to be purchasers of services, as patients increasingly choose what they want themselves. They will instead take more of a role in strategic planning and monitoring and assessing supplier performance.

But to achieve this new role, the report warned, responsibilities of the job would need to be better defined. This will include guidance on who should be ultimately responsible for taking commissioning decisions and the model best used to obtain services.

The report also urged greater communication between procurement staff, chief executives and suppliers to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.


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