The Health Bill must be amended to make it illegal for GP consortia not to have a nurse in a senior decision making position, the Royal College of Nursing has said.
In its response to the government’s “listening exercise” on amendments to the troubled legislation, Royal College of Nursing general secretary and chief executive Peter Carter said the bill needed “significant amendments”, rather than “minor and superficial” changes.
He said: “We are calling for the legislation to be amended to ensure that there is a nurse on the board of every GP consortia. It is imperative that the expertise of nurses experienced in commissioning is utilised at all levels of the commissioning process.”
Mr Carter also criticised parts of the bill relating to the education and training of nurses, saying that handing complete control of them to local NHS employers risked future workforce shortages and the cutting of training budgets.
However, Unison head of health Christina McAnea called for the bill to be scrapped altogether, attacking in particular moves to increase competition among NHS service providers. She said: “We believe the bill is too fatally flawed to be amended and should be dropped completely.”
Royal College of Midwives general secretary Cathy Warwick described the bill as “reckless and poorly thought through”, claiming maternity services were starting to improve without needing major reform.
But she said: “We are not opposed to change, indeed our position is quite the opposite. Our concern is that the government is moving too far, too fast. It hasn’t actually identified the problems that the reforms are meant to solve.”
The NHS Future Forum – a panel of 40 clinicians set up in April to scrutinise the bill and recommend amendments to the government – is due to hand its report to ministers later this month.