NHS Future Forum

Released on: 13 June 2011

The NHS Future Forum has published key recommendations to Government on the future for NHS modernisation

Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive, NCT, said:

“Women and their families want a safe, positive transition to feeling settled and confident as parents, and the NHS plays an important role in this.

“We are delighted to see the recommendation that ‘no decision about me without me’ is hardwired into the service. We hope this means that Maternity Services Liaison Committees (MSLCs) will be better supported to involve users in decisions about the design of their local health services. NCT believes MSLCs are the most appropriate forum to ensure effective multi-professional involvement in the design and commissioning of services working in partnership with managers.

“We welcome the recommendation to remove the Monitor’s duty to ‘promote’ competition and instead use citizens’ power to challenge the local health service where they do not feel it offers meaningful choices or good quality. Furthermore, in the case of maternity, the deadline for a complaint to be submitted should be extended to one year to allow a busy new mum the time to make her views known.

“For those having a baby an integrated service is required. Each woman and her partner need a midwife they can get to know and trust, their main point of contact throughout the pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. We agree there has been too much focus on different parts of the system – GPs, hospitals, public health – and insufficient attention to how they join up to provide the integrated care that patients need. NCT would prefer to see the model of Foundation Trusts move to Maternity Trusts or Networks which would provide a more integrated service.

NCT agrees that the education and training of the healthcare workforce is the foundation on which the NHS is built. In Maternity we would like to see all those providing care for new and expectant parents have some early module of their training together, with users explaining what the transition means to them and what their experience of care was. It is essential a user-focused team approach is instilled from the start.

NCT is pleased to see recognition that the Bill should require commissioning consortia to have a governing body that meets in public with effective independent representation to protect against conflicts of interest.  We think this would be best achieved by the restructuring of PCT rather than setting up another structure. This would also enable managers to be retained to ensure a smooth transition and support clinical leaders in tackling the financial challenges facing the NHS.