Intended for healthcare professionals


The Future Forum proposes major changes to the government’s plans for NHS reform

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 14 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3769
  1. Chris Ham, chief executive
  1. 1King’s Fund, London W1G 0AN, UK
  1. c.ham{at}

Integrated care should be given priority, with less emphasis on competition

The report of the Future Forum, established by the government to lead the listening exercise on the proposed reforms of the NHS in England, has put forward a series of recommendations for modifying the direction of these reforms and the Health and Social Care Bill currently before parliament.1 Although it accepts the need for change, the forum has responded to the concerns of organisations representing patients, staff, and other stakeholders by reiterating the importance of the values contained in the NHS Constitution and urging caution about the role of competition in the NHS. It has stopped short of recommending that the Health and Social Care Bill should be abandoned, but the forum’s proposals nevertheless amount to far reaching modifications of the government’s plans.

The forum argues persuasively that care needs to be integrated around the needs of patients, noting that “concerns around integration came up time and time again” during the listening exercise. Citing examples of successful integration, including diabetes care in Bolton and care for older people in Torbay, it asserts that there is a need to move beyond arguing for integration to making it happen. Other recommendations in a short but wide ranging report include making patient choice …

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