A modern NHS – putting patients and health professionals in the driving seat
The Health and Social Care Bill will return to Parliament today to discuss the Government’s plans to modernise the NHS and to safeguard it for the future.
The Bill’s core principle of modernising the NHS is to create a stronger health system:
where the Secretary of State will continue, as now, to promote and be accountable for a comprehensive health service;
driven by health professionals, not Whitehall and bureaucracy;
where patients and the public are in the driving seat of their care, supported with more choice, information and control;
with greater integration of services;
with a new ‘Duty of Candour’, a contractual requirement on providers to be open and transparent in admitting mistakes, and;
that’s focused on prevention and tackling the causes of poor health and health inequalities.
In addition, the Government has previously outlined safeguards that protect against price competition, privatisation and private companies ‘cherry-picking’ profitable NHS business.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:
“The Health and Social Care Bill will both safeguard the future of our NHS, and move us closer to a health service that puts patients at the heart of everything it does.
“It ensures that future generations can rely, as previous ones have – on an NHS that is always there, always improving and always free at the point of use.
“The principles of our modernisation plans – patient power, clinical leadership, a focus on results, stated in the Coalition Agreement and again in last year’s White Paper – have always been at the core of the Bill. Principles which are widely accepted as reported by the independent NHS Future Forum. They called for us now to get on; and today we are getting on with modernising the NHS.”
Earlier this year the Government strengthened its plans to modernise the NHS following the recommendations of the independent NHS Future Forum. The Forum’s report concluded that there was considerable support for the principles of reform and that the NHS must change to meet future challenges.
The Bill has so far spent longer being scrutinised than any Public Bill between 1997 and 2010 — 40 Committee sittings, and over 100 hours of debate. It will now continue the legislative process.
Notes to editors