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Expert panel to advise prime minister on NHS

Number 10 Downing Street is establishing its own panel of senior health policy experts – including two former NHS chief executives – to advise the prime minister on NHS reform, Nursing Times’ sister publication HSJ has learned.

David Cameron’s office has organised the first meeting of the group tomorrow morning to discuss health service reform, senior sources said. It is believed the focus will be on NHS reform in general, rather than pushing through health secretary Andrew Lansley’s proposals specifically.

Those invited include Lord Crisp, NHS chief executive and Department of Health permanent secretary from 2000 to 2006, and Sir Ian Carruthers, who was NHS chief executive during 2006 and is now NHS South West chief executive.

HSJ understands they also include former Monitor executive chairman Bill Moyes and former NHS director general of commissioning and system management Mark Britnell, now KPMG’s global head of health.

Others involved include University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Sir Robert Naylor, NHS Confederation interim chief executive Nigel Edwards, Nuffield Trust chief executive Jennifer Dixon and David Kerr, professor of cancer medicine at Oxford University.

Sources said it was likely to be an ongoing panel for Number 10 to discuss health policy and reform. It has been organised by Paul Bate, the former adviser to Tony Blair who was appointed by David Cameron in March 2011. One source described it as a “kitchen cabinet” which would continue providing advice.

A senior source said the group was not being established to discuss Mr Lansley’s proposals but instead to “try out” other ideas. A source said: “He [Paul Bate] wants to get heads together to reflect ideas off.”

The panel is not part of the NHS Future Forum “listening exercise” which has been asked to suggest “improvements” to Mr Lansley’s Health Bill.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Line up the usual suspects!
    Suits and mostly men.

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  • where are the nursing and medical professions on this expert panel. How can the current difficulties on the future of the NHS be resolved without their expert opinions? It seems that with only the above experts a very biased view will be presented as policies will only focus on managerial and economic aspects rather than the core values of service to the patient and their care.

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  • Tom, do you mean yes men?

    I totally agree with Anonymous | 3-May-2011 4:12 pm, what exactly is their definition of 'expert'?? Nurses were non existent and clinicians in the minority???

    Isn't this the core of the problems that face the NHS? Things will never change until frontline Nurse and Clinician opinions are valued more than the opinions of moronic suits and executives.

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  • I believe it is about shared expertise but this must not be too heavily weighted towards management and administration at the expense of informed clinical opinion and
    clinical patient care which currently appears to be the case. I find this a most extraordinary state of affairs. after all what is the NHS really all about? I guess different things to different people depending upon whether those being asked are executives/managers/administrators or clinicians!

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  • A "panel of senior health policy experts"??!! AAAAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!
    Will someone, for the love of God, just ask a nurse??

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  • How about those on the shop floor, completely ignored......Again!

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  • Anonymous | 3-May-2011 4:12 pm

    Margaret | 4-May-2011 5:55 pm

    Amanda Lewins | 4-May-2011 7:32 pm

    well said and Mike of course they are yes men.

    I wonder why "shop floor" are not asked to be on the panel, is it because we don't have the time or more like to be we may put some spanners in the works????

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  • Maybe its because just asking a nurse will tell
    " The whole truth and nothing but the truth....Amen "
    If they dig their heads in the sand "they" cannot hear or see.

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  • Not all yes men! Plenty of yes women in senior positions.

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