Editorials

What does the white paper mean for hospital consultants?

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4433 (Published 17 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4433
  1. Hugo Mascie-Taylor, medical director
  1. 1NHS Confederation, Bressendon Place, London SW1E 5DD
  1. hugo.mascie-taylor{at}nhsconfed.org

    Greater influence and greater accountability

    Since the general election the movement towards reform and reorganisation in the health service has been rapid. The recently published white paper and the subsequent Transparency in Outcomes—A Framework for the NHS could completely recast the way the NHS is managed, governed, and held to account.1 2 Many commentators consider that a series of radical and far reaching changes to the NHS is under way.3 4 5 Consultants and their patients are understandably concerned about what these changes mean for them. A consideration of the four broad themes that run through the white paper and its supporting documents is crucial to tackling these concerns.

    The first of these, and perhaps the most important, is the principle that patient empowerment, facilitated by information and choice of health providers, is paramount. Second is the substantial strengthening and clarification at all levels of the purchaser-provider split. This will be supported by the third ambition, to free the provider market and promote greater choice. Finally, increasingly robust regulation will be directed towards internationally comparable quality outcomes and …

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