Terms of reference

A1. To provide expert advice on:

  • proposed NHS reconfigurations or significant service change
  • options for NHS reconfigurations or significant service change

referred to the panel by ministers.

A2. In providing advice, the panel will consider whether the proposals will provide safe, sustainable and accessible services for the local population, taking account of:

  • clinical and service quality
  • the current or likely impact of patients’ choices and the rigour of public involvement and consultation processes
  • the views and future referral needs of local GPs who commission services, the wider configuration of the NHS and other services locally, including likely future plans
  • other national policies, including guidance on NHS service change
  • any other issues ministers direct in relation to service reconfigurations generally or specific reconfigurations in particular

A3.The advice will normally be developed by groups of experts not personally involved in the proposed reconfiguration or service change, the membership of which will be agreed formally with the panel beforehand.

A4. The advice will be delivered within timescales agreed with the panel by ministers with a view to minimising delay and preventing disruption to services at local level.

B1. To offer pre-formal consultation generic advice and support to NHS and other interested bodies on the development of local proposals for reconfiguration or significant service change - including advice and support on methods for public engagement and formal public consultation.

C1. The effectiveness and operation of the panel will be reviewed annually.