Healthcare bodies involved in service reconfiguration have a myriad of statutory duties and legal principles to comply with and those duties impact on decisions that both commissioners (and by April 2022 NHS Integrated Care Systems bodies) and providers need to take around consultation in respect of service reconfigurations and decommissioning. We can expect to see these principles being adjusted to suit the changing landscape and the individual nature of the ICS bodies. Clearly patient & public involvement remain central to the commissioning process at all times too.

We can expect to see new proposals for service reconfiguration in the forthcoming Health and Care Bill as outlined in the NHS white paper. Of note is the proposal to broaden the scope for potential ministerial intervention in reconfigurations by allowing the Secretary of State to intervene at any point of the reconfiguration process. We understand that this would mean that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel would be replaced by new arrangements.

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