Archive of: March, 2010
The Health Select Committee’s report on commissioning has now been published and includes an important chapter on specialised services, providing important backing for the Alliance’s analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of current arrangements. In particular it:
- Acknowledges significant improvements in specialised commissioning since the Carter Report of 2006;
- Highlights the regulatory limbo occupied by SCGs and the threat posed to funding for specialised services as NHS funding is squeezed;
- Recommends that the Department of Health undertake a review of the problems surrounding implementation of Carter, taking into account the Alliance’s proposal that regional Specialised Commissioning Groups should be re-located within Strategic Health Authorities and funded directly.
p.The Alliance is delighted that Sir Liam Donaldson has taken the opportunity of his last annual report as Chief Medical Officer to highlight the importance of rare diseases both in terms of their frequent severity and the cumulatively large number of people affected. Sir Liam’s recommendations chime with the Alliance’s call to renew and reinvigorate the Carter reforms, proposing to:
- Strengthen the network of reference centres for rare diseases to enable better coordination of specialist services, including the transition from paediatric to adult services.
- Ensure that adequate numbers of specialists are trained so that future service needs can be met.
- Appoint a National Clinical Director for rare diseases to oversee the development of clear standards and pathways for the treatment and surveillance of rare diseases, with national registers to support service planning and delivery as well as research.
- Strengthen research, including translational research with economic incentives, to develop and market medicines for the ‘orphan diseases’.
- Raise public and professional awareness of this neglected group of diseases.
- Support international collaborative efforts to share information and resources for rare diseases.
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