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Clinical Articles, Lead Article

NHS Future Forum publish second phase report

The NHS Future Forum has given its second set of reports1 to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in which it sets out a series of recommendations to improve the quality of patient care and achieve better outcomes.

Future Forum Chair Professor Steve Field said: “We are making robust and ambitious recommendations to the NHS and to Government. We have heard an enormous amount of support for the shift to patient-centred care but also frustration that this has not yet been achieved. This must now become a reality for patients across England and health and social care professionals must lead the way”.

Over four months the Forum listened to more than 12,000 people and attended more than 300 events. In this phase, the Forum set out to listen to more patients and carers and sought more input from local authorities, housing and social care providers.

The government has responded to the Future Forum and accepted its recommendations.2

Highlights from the Future Forum’s reports include:

Future Forum (Steve Fields) copy

Professor Steve Field

  • Integration should be defined around the patient, not the system – outcomes, incentives and system rules (i.e. competition and choice) need to be aligned accordingly.
  • Health and wellbeing boards should drive local integration – through a whole-population, strategic approach that addresses local priorities.
  • Local commissioners and providers should be given freedom and flexibility to ‘get on and do’ – through flexing payment flows and enabling planning over a longer term.

Education and training

  • The new local education and training boards must have the governance in place to deliver strong partnerships across healthcare providers, academia and education.
  • Quality must be at the heart of education and training with systems in place at all levels to reward high quality education and embed continuing professional development.
  • There needs to be a review of the principles and aims of the Tooke Report into medical education.
  • A properly structured process to support individual nurse and midwife development in post-qualification career pathways should be developed nationally.


  • Patients should have access to their online GP-held records by the end of this Parliament.
  • The NHS must move to using its IT systems to share data about individual patients and service users electronically in the interests of high quality care.
  • The Government should set a clear deadline within the current Parliament by which all information about clinical outcomes is put in the public domain.

NHS’s role in the public’s health

  • The NHS must do more to prevent poor health, so it can reduce health inequalities and continue to provide high quality care for future generations.
  • Every healthcare professional should make every contact count – use every contact with the public to help them improve their health. This should be a core staff responsibility in the NHS Constitution.
  • The NHS must do more to support the wellbeing of its own staff too, helping a workforce of 1.4 million to live healthily and spread healthy messages with family, friends and patients.


1 NHS Future Forum recommendations to Government – second phase. NHS Future Forum 2012.  Available from:

2 Government response to NHS Future Forum’s second report. Department of Health 2012.  Available from:

Published on: February 7, 2012

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