7 June 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech outlining changes to the government’s initial proposals for NHS reform in England, ahead of NHS Future Forum’s report on the listening exercise, expected next week.
Saying he did not know or wish to pre-empt their recommendations, the Prime Minister said, “We will not be selling off the NHS, we will not be moving towards an insurance scheme, we will not introduce an American-style private system.”
Among the key changes he announced were:
1. Hospital doctors and nurses as well as GPs will be involved in the new care planning and buying consortia – but only when they are ready, not by April 2013 as previously envisaged.
2. Integration of NHS services will be overseen by new ‘clinical senates’ of senior medical professionals. The NHS watchdog, Monitor, will have a new duty to support this integration of services and health and well-being boards will also have a role.
The aim is to provide integrated care “whether that’s between primary and secondary care, mental and physical care, or health and social care… bringing together everyone from NHS commissioning groups to adult social care specialists, children’s trusts and public health professionals to design local strategies for improving health and social care integration.”
3. The Prime Minister promised: “Choice for patients, not competition for its own sake” and “Fair competition, not cherry picking.” His vision: “For the first time in the history of the NHS, you will be able to decide what will be the best service, best package of care that will allow you to lead independent lives as long as that service meets NHS standards and NHS costs. No decision about me, without me.”
Targets like the 18-week limit on waiting lists will be retained but there will be greater focus on the outcomes of treatment eg. hospital readmission rates.