The Government has tabled a series of amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill in advance of its Report Stage in the House of Lords, which begins next week.
Health Minister Earl Howe has tabled a number of amendments that reaffirm the Government’s commitment to putting patients at the heart of the NHS and handing power to GPs and nurses. Alongside the amendments, the Department of Health has also pubished a set of briefing notes.
The amendments include:
- Secretary of State accountability: Putting beyond doubt the Secretary of State’s responsibility and accountability with respect to a comprehensive health service. These amendments follow constructive cross-party discussion about this issue.
- Greater patient involvement: Patients will have a greater say in their health, with the NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups having stronger duties to promote patient involvement in their own care.
- Education and training: The NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups will have new responsibilities to support education and training, strengthening the links between workforce planning and education and training.
- Health inequalities: A new duty on the Secretary of State, NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups to report annually on their progress in tackling health inequalities.
- Strengthening integration: Making clear that the health regulator Monitor will have the power to require healthcare providers to promote integration of NHS services.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The principles of our modernisation plans – “no decision about me, without me” for patients, clinical leadership with doctors and nurses leading discussions on services, a focus on results for patients and reducing bureaucracy – have always been at the core of the Bill. These principles are widely accepted as reported by the independent NHS Future Forum. But we have been carefully listening to the ideas raised as the Bill has progressed through Parliament. And as a result we have today tabled a series of amendments to address these remaining issues.’
Report stage in the House of Lords is due to start on 8 February.