The Royal College of Psychiatrists broadly
welcomes the government’s decision today
to accept the core recommendations of the Future Forum
report, especially around the change to Monitor's role in
relation to competition, safeguards against 'cherry
picking', and the widening of clinical involvement in
There are, however,
reservations. While the Royal College of Psychiatrists very
much welcomes the inclusion of non-GP clinicians in the
newly-termed ‘clinical commissioning groups’, we would still like
assurances that mental health will be adequately represented so
that it enjoys real parity with physical health - as agreed to in
the Government's own mental health strategy.
The College is keen to see that the revised
duties regarding patient involvement are genuinely strengthened,
and lead to the meaningful and active participation of patients and
carers in commissioning decisions. The College also welcomes the
new duty on clinical commissioning groups to promote integrated
services for patients, both within the NHS and between health,
social care and other local services.
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, President of the
Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "We welcome the
extension in clinical networks of experts, and hope that mental
health will be high on the list given the care pathway complexities
involved; the College likewise welcomes the advent of clinical
"Multi-professional involvement will be key
to the success of the proposed reforms and the Royal College of
Psychiatrists looks forward to working closely within the new
commissioning system and the NHS Commissioning Board.
"The decision to strengthen the existing
duties to secure professional advice is a good one. However, these
were vague in the original Bill, and we will be keen to see that
changes lead to the meaningful input of psychiatrists in
commissioning guidance and decisions."
Dr Laurence Mynors-Wallis, Registrar of the
Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "Regarding non-GP clinician
involvement in clinical commissioning groups, the College has
concerns about how familiar secondary care specialists who are not
locally employed will be about local mental health services. We
suggest that other models could be explored in order to allow
locally-employed specialist involvement in commissioning
"The College welcomes the clarity which the
Government has provided on the issue of consortia being responsible
for their whole population and not just their registered patients,
particularly as this is such a significant issue in mental health.
We also welcome the requirement for governing bodies to meet in
public and publish their minutes.
"However, we are disappointed to see the
Government maintaining its support for the roll-out of the ‘Any
Qualified Provider’ model, as there is a danger that it may
fragment mental health pathways and result in poor service for
"We are particularly glad to note the
Government’s moves to prevent the cherry-picking of services and
hope that the safeguards are a success. We feel, however, that
achieving this in practice may prove difficult, but keenly await
further detail from the Government on this area."
For further information, please
McLoughlin in the Communications Department.
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 07738 349070