PM launches second listening stage


David Cameron has launched the second stage in the Government’s listening exercise over the planned NHS reforms.

The NHS Future Forum will again be used to gauge opinion from patients, service users and professionals on four integration workstreams.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley initially told the Health Select Committee the next listening stage would focus on education and training, information and public health.

But a fourth strand focusing on integration has now been added following opposition to the reforms initial prioritising of competition after the first Future Forum’s recommendations.

Professor Steve Field will again chair the independent Forum, which has been expanded to more than 50 members.

He said that if Government wants to meet future challenges it is “essential that we make sure that the thoughts and concerns” of those at the centre of the reforms are listened to.

“With a broader membership across health and social care and a defined focus, I believe the NHS Future Forum will stimulate important debate on issues that really matter to people,” said Professor Field.

The findings from the four workstreams will be reported back to the Government in the autumn, although it has not been decided if they will report separately or together.