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Medicines key to new NHS Mandate, says ABPI

Government sets objectives for NHS Commissioning Board to improve patient care in England

Effective use of medicines is “essential” if the newly-launched NHS Mandate is to achieve its priorities, according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

The Mandate, which sets out the government's ambitions and objectives for the UK's NHS Commissioning Board for the next two years, was welcomed by ABPI chief executive Stephen Whitehead as a way to raise standards of patient care, but he said the use of pharmaceutical treatments should not be overlooked.

“If the NHS is really serious on delivering on these priorities – such as preventing people from dying prematurely and enhancing quality of life for those with long-term conditions – ensuring they receive the best medicines will be essential,” said Whitehead.

Integration with the government's Innovation, Health and Wealth (IHW) plan, which aims to create a more supportive environment for innovation in the NHS, was also key, according to Whitehead.

“If the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry can deliver IHW successfully, the NHS Mandate can be readily achieved and deliver better healthcare whilst helping to reduce expensive secondary care,” he added.

The Mandate, which was launched yesterday by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has been described as a 'contract' between the government and the NHS Commissioning Board – a body recently created as part of vast reforms to the NHS in England to oversee regional clinical commissioning groups and provide national standards and accountability for commissioning services.

Set to become fully operational in April 2013, the Commissioning Board was given five key tasks over the next two years:

• preventing people from dying prematurely
• enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
• helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
• ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
• treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.

Specific objectives to be achieved include plans for everyone to be able to book GP appointments online order a repeat prescription online and talk to their GP online by 2015.

Other objectives concerned priority issues, such as an increasing ageing population, with plans for better diagnosis, treatment and care for people with dementia, and mental health, which should be treated on an equal footing to physical health, echoing previous commitments outlined in the reformed NHS constitution.

Patient choice, which was at the heart of the coalition government's rhetoric during the passage of the Health and Social Care Act, also featured as part of the mandate's objectives, with plans for everyone in England to have the opportunity to give feedback on the quality of their care, as well as to find out how well their local NHS is providing the care they need.

Doctors' body the British Medical Association, which worked with the government on the draft set of objectives, welcomed the Mandate.

Its chair Dr Porter said: “There are measures to encourage the NHS Commissioning Board to innovate, and a welcome reduction in targets, objectives and micro-managing that marred the draft mandate.”

Meanwhile, Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board, said the mandate “marks a major step on the road to the more liberated and innovative NHS”, but there was a lot of work to be done. 

He said: “I am under no illusions about the scale of the task.  There will be bumps in the road and we will have to learn from them.

“But I have been greatly impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment shown by our new clinical leaders and I look forward to us continuing to work in partnership to do what's best for patients in the coming years.”

14th November 2012

From: Healthcare



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