Thurrockians are being encouraged to have their say on the NHS white paper – Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS – which was published by the secretary of state for health, Andrew Lansley last week.
The paper sets out the Government’s long-term vision for the NHS and details how power will be devolved from Whitehall. Under new plans, the department of health says that patients will be able to choose which GP practice they register with, regardless of where they live, and choose between consultant-led teams, adding that information, such as patients’ own ratings, will help them make these choices together with healthcare professionals.
Monday’s announcement said that groups of GPs will be given freedom and responsibility for commissioning care for their local communities and that providers of services will have new freedoms and be more accountable. The paper says that there will be greater competition in the NHS and greater cooperation. The proposal is that services will be more joined up, supported by a new role for local authorities to support integration across health and social care.
As a result of the changes, the secretary of state believes that the NHS will be streamlined with fewer layers of bureaucracy. Strategic health authorities and primary care trusts will be phased out. Management costs will be reduced so that as much resource as possible supports frontline services.
The reforms build on changes started under the previous Government.
Local people, community groups, statutory agencies, the third sector, partners and service providers are being encouraged to have their say in reponse to the white paper.
In particular, the department of health would welcome comments on the implementation of the proposals requiring primary legislation (summarised on page 49 of the white paper) and including:
* the creation of a public health service
* transferring local health improvement functions to local authorities
* establishing the independent NHS Commissioning Board
* establishing a statutory framework for a comprehensive system of GP consortia
* establishing HealthWatch as a statutory part of the Care Quality Commission to champion services users and carers across health and social care and turning Local Involvement Networks into local HealthWatch
* reforming the foundation trust model
* strengthening the role of the Care Quality Commission
The department of health will publish a response to the views raised on the white paper and the associated papers, prior to the introduction of the health bill.
Comments should be sent, by Tuesday 5 October 2010, to:
White Paper team
Department of Health
London SW1A 2NS