Posted 25th September 2010
The following summarises some aspects of the White Paper - Liberating the NHS, which sets out the government's vision of the NHS.
Core to the document is the philosophy that "Patients are at the heart of everything we do", so there are repeated messages about more choice and more control for patients.
Working with Local Authorities
Another repeated message is the increase in working together with local authorities, particularly with regard to adult social care. "Local Authorities will lead the collective voice of patient and public". At the national level there will be a new consumer champion called HealthWatch England, located in Care Quality Commission.
The DH will establish a commission on the funding of long term care and support to report in a year's time. The commission will consider a range of ideas, including both a voluntary insurance scheme and a partnership scheme. As a key component of a lasting settlement for the social care system the Paper claims that the Government will reform and consolidate the law underpinning adult social care, working with the Law Commission. The intention is to publish a White Paper in 2011, with a view to introducing legislation in the second session of this Parliament to establish a sustainable legal and financial framework for adult social care.
Personalised care planning
As part of personalised care planning, the Govt will encourage further pilots to come forward and explore the potential of introducing a right to a personal health budget in discrete areas such as NHS continuing care.
GP Consortia commissioning treatment and care
The Paper says that the Government will devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to the healthcare professionals closest to the patients - GP and their practice teams working in consortia. GP consortia will need to have sufficient freedoms to use resources in ways that achieve the best and most cost-efficient outcomes for patients. They may choose to buy in support from external bodies, including local authorities, private and voluntary sector bodies.
The infrastructure of the NHS is changing, with the demise of PCTs. Responsibility for public health will transfer to local authorities. The Government will release a Public Health White Paper and a Health Bill later this year, along with their vision for adult social care.
Patient control of their own records
People will be able to share their own records with third parties who can help them understand and manage their condition better. The Govt will make it simpler for a patient to download their record and pass it, in a standard format, to any organisation of their choice.