Health and care bill introduced to Parliament
The government will today table legislation to reform the health system, including a specific package of measures for the social care sector.
The Health and Care Bill aims to will improve oversight and accountability in the delivery of social care services through new assurance and data sharing measures, and update the legal framework to enable person-centred models of hospital discharge.
Other measures include greater powers for the Health and Social Care Secretary to directly make payments to adult social care providers where required.
The Health and Care Bill builds on the proposals for legislative change set out by NHS England in its Long Term Plan.
The government believes the Bill builds on the NHS’ own proposals for reform “to make it less bureaucratic, more accountable, and more integrated in the wake of Covid-19”.
“The astonishing response of our health and care services to the Covid-19 pandemic has hit fast-forward on some of the bold changes the NHS set out to deliver in its Long Term Plan and shone the spotlight on other areas that require change to achieve better care for our communities,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
“To help meet demand, build a better health service and bust the backlog, we need to back the NHS, as it celebrates its 73rd birthday this week, and embed lessons learned from the pandemic. This will support our health and care services to be more integrated and innovative so the NHS can deliver for people in the decades to come,” he added.
Other key measures in the Bill include the NHS and local government coming together to plan health and care services around their patients’ needs, including moving services out of hospitals and into the community, focusing on preventative healthcare.
The Bill also lays the ground for the development of a new procurement regime for the NHS and public health procurement to reduce bureaucracy on commissioners and providers, and reduce the need for competitive tendering where it adds limited or no value.
Care England said it has identified five main areas where the Bill needs to be bolstered in order to assist real integration between health and social care.
"Firstly, adult social care providers, for profit and not for profit, need to be directly represented on ICS NHS and Partnership Boards. Secondly, there must be a ten year workforce plan that addresses adult social care," added chief executive Martin Green.
"Thirdly, the framework around assessment of local authorities to be subject to consultation and moreover created as well as co-produced by providers. Fourthly, every ICS needs to fulfil a certain level of awareness and understanding of adult social care.
Green continued: "Lastly, social care plans need to be produced by the Prime Minister before ICS’ come into effect. Care England will be working with Parliamentarians as the Bill makes progress through both Houses of Parliament."
Care England's We Care for England report to be published this month will provide the government with a plan as to how to deliver sustainable, long-term reform for the sector, he added.