Health and Care Bill introduced to Parliament

On 6 July 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP released a press release titled Health and Care Bill introduced to Parliament.

On 6 July, new proposals to build a modern health and care system that delivers better care for our communities were introduced in Parliament.

In the press article the government explain that the Bill will ensure each part of England has an Integrated Care Board and an Integrated Care Partnership responsible for bringing together local NHS and local government, such as social care, mental health services and public health advice, to deliver joined up care for its local population.
Clinicians, carers and public health experts will be empowered to operate collaboratively across health and care, as part of plans to tackle inequalities and level up health across the country. The Bill will also introduce measures to tackle obesity and improve oral health.

The full press release can be accessed here.

The King’s Fund, an independent charitable organisation working to improve health and care in England, have written a blog titled The Health and Care Bill: a threat to the operational independence of the NHS?
In the blog they explain their concern that the new powers of direction for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care over NHS England that were outlined in the White Paper have survived. They feel this will continue to risk taking the NHS back to the wrong sort of future – ending the operational independence of NHS England, and returning it to the days when ministers felt the need to try to run the NHS themselves.

They are further concerned that Ministers will have to be informed of all service changes, including temporary ones due to operational pressures. The Secretary of State will then decide whether to formally call them in and make the decision themselves. Through this process ministers will be involved in every decision about every service change, because if they decide not to call one in they will lobbied so to do.
Currently ministers only intervene when a contested change is referred to them by a local authority, and the minister in turn refers it to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

However, they are pleased that the Bill does propose retaining the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which the White Paper said would be abolished.

You can read the blog in full here.