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NHS England’s plans to cut specialised service providers from 270 to under 30 might not be “sensible,” conference hears

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1807 (Published 27 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1807
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

NHS England’s plans for specialised services have been criticised at a Westminster Health Forum meeting in London on 25 February. John Murray, director of the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, warned that they needed better focus, a coherent approach to innovation, and no repeats of the “money chaos” that had occurred towards the end of last year.

Murray said that specialised commissioning was quite well placed compared with the rest of the NHS, with a single commissioner (NHS England) responsible for £12bn (€14.6bn; $20bn) of annual spending since April 2013 and 75 clinical reference groups set up to advise on each specialist area. The structure, he said, brought clinicians together and provided service specifications and commissioning policies for the whole of England.

But he warned that, compared with the previous structure, NHS England had fewer people running a much bigger budget.

“They need to focus, and they haven’t in year …

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