As you may be aware, the Health and Care Bill is the next legislative step following the Government’s Integration and Innovation White Paper. This was an important document which set out the Government’s vision for improved and integrated health and social care.
Many measures of the Bill are formed directly from the NHS’s own proposals for reform in its Long Term Plan and the Bill has been designed alongside healthcare leaders. The Long Term Plan was drawn up by NHS leaders who, I think we can all agree, are best placed to assess the needs of our health sector to draw on the lessons learned from the pandemic. As such, the Bill captures best practice and learning from the pandemic and vaccine rollout and combines these with measures to improve health outcomes across the country.
In essence, the Bill will make the NHS and social care sectors more joined up, with staff in the NHS, social care and prevention services working together to provide wraparound care for patients. It will promote local collaboration, drive efficiency and accountability of services, improve patient safety and take much-needed steps to address problems in health inequalities. Furthermore, quite to the contrary of claims that the Bill is seeking to establish and entrench a greater role for private providers in the NHS, it explicitly moves the NHS away from competition as the primary driver for service improvement which was introduced under the previous Labour government.
The Bill’s blueprint for improving patient outcomes gives local healthcare trusts, local clinicians and local patients greater say over how services are run. It will work to improve consistency between services and allow patients to hold healthcare leaders to account. It will also streamline the management of the NHS at all levels of the organisation – which will see better value for money for taxpayer – and it will remove bureaucratic cost and pricing processes for a more integrated social and health care system.
I stood under a manifesto commitment to protect and enhance the NHS for all patients and this Bill is an integral and much-needed step to achieve this. It creates a blueprint for innovation and integration and consolidates the NHS’s core and founding principles at its heart. In the words of the Chief Executive of NHS England, the Bill “will support our health and care services to be more integrated and innovative so the NHS can thrive in the decades to come.”
Some constituents have also contacted me about the recent votes on the Health and Care Bill and, in particular, the vote on abortion legislation. If you would like to better understand how I voted on this amendment, please do contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.