Liberating the NHS - All Change Please! Consultation feedback required.
The white paper outlines the Coalition Government's strategy for the NHS as: Putting patients and public first; Improving healthcare outcomes; Autonomy, accountability and democratic legitimacy; Cutting bureaucracy and improving efficiency.
There are radical changes outlined, leading to up to £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2014, including a 45% reduction in NHS management costs. These changes include the abolition of Strategic Health Authorities during 2012/13 and Primary Care Trusts from 2013. The responsibility for commissioning most primary health care will shift to consortia of GPs which will be formed in each area and be fully operational by 2013. An NHS Commissioning Board will be created to oversee the commissioning of hospital and other services.
The Local Involvement Network (LINk) will become a new organisation called HealthWatch. HealthWatch will continue to ensure views and feedback from patients inform local commissioning, but will also provide advocacy and support. Local authorities will ensure that HealthWatch is operating effectively. There will be a national 'HealthWatch England' providing leadership, advice, information and support to local HealthWatch groups, and to the NHS Commissioning Board and the Secretary of State. HealthWatch England will also have the power to request Care Quality Commission investigations of poor quality services.
Local authorities will be responsible for 'joining up' commissioning of local NHS services, social care and health improvement. As well as elected members of the local authority, all relevant NHS commissioners, directors of public health, adult social services and children's services will be involved in promoting partnership working, joint strategic needs assessments and services changes and priorities. HealthWatch representatives will ensure that feedback from patients and service users is reflected in commissioning plans.
This is a very densely written paper, so I suggest that everyone involved in influencing, delivering or receiving health and social care services should have a look at it. There are 4 accompanying consultation documents entitled Commissioning for Patients; Regulating Health Care Providers; Transparency and Outcomes and Local Democratic Legitimacy, all of which ask a substantial number of questions inviting feedback from us. There is also a paper reviewing arm's length bodies (such as the Care Quality Commission, the General Social Care Council, the Health Protection Agency) with proposals to cut bureaucracy.
The deadline for feedback on the White Paper itself is 5 October 2010. The deadline for feedback on the consultation documents is 11 October 2010. We at CVS would be very glad to see your responses, please email them to email@example.com.
LINk and York CVS will be running an information event on the theme of the Liberating the NHS white paper on 13 September 2010. Please let me know if you would like more details and a booking form to attend: email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring on 01904 621133.