Consultation on new safeguards to protect patients

A consultation on new measures to protect the services that patients need is launched today.

The health special administration consultation sets out how safeguards to protect the services that patients need will be extended to NHS services provided by social enterprises and other companies.

For the first time, the services provided by these organisations will be secured if they become insolvent. This will ensure that, regardless of the type of provider, patients will receive an uninterrupted service they can rely on.

Health special administration is intended as a last resort where earlier action, operating through Monitor’s licensing regime, has either been unsuccessful or is not considered appropriate to best protect the interests of patients.

Monitor will be able to seek the appointment of a health special administrator, who will take control of the company, working with local health professionals so that services can continue.

Currently, if a company that provides NHS healthcare becomes insolvent and can no longer provide services, there are few safeguards in place to ensure that patients can still access those services.

Health Minister Lord Howe said:

“The Health Special Administration procedure will only be used as a last resort when all other options have been explored. But it is an important step to ensure that regardless of how services are provided, we always meet the needs of our patients.  It is vital that everyone in the health service looks at the consultation and feeds in their opinions so we can get this right.”

The consultation gives an overview of the proposed health special administration procedure and seeks views on the overall design of the regime.

Deadline for comments is 4 January 2013.

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