It’s back to the Committee stages with the scrutiny of 160 government-inspired amendments to the original Health and Social Care Bill. But will it make any difference? I think it will, even if it is not possible to be certain exactly what some of the amendments mean or what might emerge out of this scrutiny phase before it returns to its Report Stage and its Third Reading in September.
There is a lot on which to speculate – and more on this to follow – but let’s take just one example for which clarification is going to be required. The Future Forum recommended that commissioning groups will have the same boundaries as the local authorities but does this mean (as seems to be the interpretation by the local government community) that each upper tier will have a single “clinical commissioning group” (CCG) or does it mean, as Health bodies seem to think, that where the current pathfinder consortia exist (and in many areas thare are more than one per local authority area) the status quo will remain?
So, is coterminosity a common border (hence one commissioning group) or is it simply not crossing local authority borders thus allowing for many CCGs per authority? Watch this space as this is challenged and explored between now and the 14 July (when the Committee stage ends). Mick Lowe