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The future for UK healthcare

A health bill that aims to create an NHS led by clinical decision makers will go before parliament in the next 18 months

A health bill that aims to create an NHS led by clinical decision makers will go before parliament in the next 18 months.

This was revealed at the official state opening of parliament on May 25, where the government's legislative programme was delivered in the Queen's Speech.

On the subject of health, the Queen said that the role of doctors would be strengthened to improve public health and that action would be taken to reduce health inequalities.

The Queen also said that the role of social enterprises, charities and co-operatives within public services would be enhanced and the cost of bureaucracy and the number of public bodies would be reduced.

Following the Queen's Speech, Number10.gov.uk - the official site of the Prime Minister's office - posted its notes on the health bill, stating that the purpose of the bill would be to implement the Government's proposals for a sustainable national framework for the NHS; to support a patient led NHS focused on outcomes and to deliver on the commitment to reduce bureaucracy.

The goverment claims that the bill's main benefits would be the creation of an NHS led by clinical decision makers that is more responsive to patients and fosters continuous quality improvements. It would also help shape a healthcare system that drives up standards of care, eliminates waste and achieves outcomes that are among the best in the world.

Finally, the bill will aim to focus more on patients, ensuring they genuinely share in making decisions about their care and have more choice and control.

To achieve these outcomes, the bill will establish an independent NHS Board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidance, and to allow GPs to commission services on behalf of their patients.

It will also improve efficiency and outcomes by strengthening the role of the Care Quality Commission and developing Monitor (the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) into an economic regulator to oversee aspects of access and competition in the NHS.

Proposals to significantly cut the number of health quasi non-governmental organisations (quangos) will be progressed, helping cut the cost of NHS administration by a third. This will have implications on a wide range of legislation, including the National Health Service Act 2006.

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, is expected to set out more details of his vision in the following weeks.


SHAs to be replaced by 2012

In a separate announcement, the Department of Health (DH) has confirmed that the government's proposed independent NHS board will take over the work of the ten Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) across England. It is reported that all SHAs will be abolished by 2012.

According to a spokeswoman from DH, the new board will combine functions currently provided by the DH and SHAs and will comprise regional boards, answerable to a chief executive.

26th May 2010

From: Healthcare

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