Amendments to Health and Social Care Bill published

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.

See amendments and briefing notes.

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.

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3 Responses to Amendments to Health and Social Care Bill published

  1. Alan Sandy says:

    The latest threat that LAs will be required to go out to open competition across the European Union for LHW hosts, is beyond belief.
    This could mean that LHWs will be controlled by groups located several thousands of miles away, who will want to make a profit (bearing in mind that the money for LHWs is not ring-fenced), probably not knowing where the various LHWs are located within the UK, with English not being their first language (probably with no English at all) and not having the first idea of how the health and social care services operate in the UK.
    This will destroy the ‘LOCAL’ part of Local HealthWatch.
    The name HealthWatch will cause confusion, as the groups will think it only relates to Health. They won’t understand, or allow for, the Social Care services.

  2. RICHARD BENNS says:

    The current ammendments do not go far enough in regulating conflicts of interest in the commissioning process nor the additional cost for CCGs in out-sourcing expertise for the procurement administration and finance associated with the task. The services, formerly provided by regional PCTs, will have to be paid for by a far greater number of local CCGs from the same pot of public funds. I cannot understand how a regime that requires the nhs to purchase services from itself can in any way be beneficial to patients. Can anyone enlighten me?

  3. RICHARD BENNS says:

    If, as I fear, the House of Lords fail to stop this governments ‘gambling’ with our health service by allowing the Bill to go through, the least that they can do is to make sure that the government rhetoric for patient engagement is properly implemented. At present the funding for PPGs is only available to GPs who can apply under the DES scheme. GPs are under no obligation to pass any of this funding on to their PPGs. The same applies to CCG’s and PRG’s. My profound suspicion is that this goverment is ‘selling’ these divisive set of reforms to the patient electorate under the false pretext of patient involvement (‘No Decision About Me Without Me’) without providing any ‘real’ means to implement it.