The government acknowledged in 2010 that the National Health Service (NHS) needed to be updated in order to manage the current issues and prevent disasters in the future.
The funding, commissioning, and management of social and health care services in England have been modified thanks to the Health and Social Care Act, which was signed into law in 2012 and has since been implemented in stages.
However, the most significant adjustment will take effect on April 1st, 2013, when a new organisational structure for the NHS’s service delivery will be in place. The NHS will undergo the broadest reorganisation to date.
According to the Act, the Secretary of State’s function and duties would change. The option for private health care providers to provide many services that were previously given by the NHS will increase as they will still be accountable for the NHS but won’t be required to.
A new National Commissioning Board (NCB) will be established to lead regional Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and commission some specialist and primary care services, including those from general practitioners, dentists, community pharmacies, and opticians. The Act will also eliminate Strategic Health Authorities and substitute them.
Primary Care Trusts, which presently manage 80% of the NHS budget, will be substituted by CCGs, which will be a GP-led organisation in charge of the majority of health services, including those provided by GPs, dentists, and pharmacies as well as several secondary care services offered by hospitals.
Moreover, a brand-new organisation called “Public Health England” will be established in order to guide local governments and interact with other organisations to improve public health concerns.
The Act expands the authority of some existing agencies while establishing some new ones to oversee and regulate the health and social care services in England. In addition to the duties listed above, the NCB will be required to defend and advance patients’ interests as well as combat fraud and unfair business practises limitations.
The creation of social care quality standards will fall under the newly extended jurisdiction of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Additionally, it will help in giving GPs, CCGs, and community and secondary care agencies much-needed assistance.
In addition to ensuring that its standards of quality and safety are met, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will help in regulating the providers of health and adult social care services, such as the NHS.
To ensure the interests of everyone who uses health and social care services, a new, independent national organisation called “Healthwatch” will be established. Additionally, it will play an important role in communicating patients’ opinions and offering them support, guidance, and knowledge.
Council members, lay representatives, and commissioners for health and social services will form “Health and Wellbeing Boards.” The Board’s duties will include supporting the development of teamwork and addressing the inequality in people’s health and welfare in their community.
The Act states that the Department of Health, which is still accountable to Parliament, shall have direct authority over the NCBs, the CQC, and NICE.
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) will continue to support the complaints procedure under the Act. But people who have complaints about their care can now turn to the new, independent organisation “Healthwatch” for guidance and assistance.
The Health and Social Care Act of 2012, in its entirety, attempts to empower patients by giving them more control and authority over their own care. It will concentrate attention on the public health system and place physicians at the centre of commissioning, releasing providers to experiment. The NHS requires significant transformation, and it is hoped that the new duties and obligations outlined in the Act will make the NHS more responsible on a local and a national level.