Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has introduced a new Health and Care Bill to parliament this week, containing proposals to ‘help the NHS build back better from the pandemic’.
Earlier this year, the government revealed its proposed plans for the new Bill, with the formal introduction to parliament coming on the heels of ‘extensive’ discussion with NHS England, the Local Government Association and the health and care sector.
Among the key measures outlined in the Bill includes plans to bring together the NHS and local government to plan health and care services.
Other proposals include the development of a new procurement regime for the NHS and public health procurement, which aims to reduce bureaucracy on commissioners and providers alike.
This proposal will also aim to reduce the need for competitive tendering, when it adds limited or no value.
The Bill will also ensure that each part of England has an ‘Integrated Care Board’, as well as an ‘Integrated Care Partnership’.
These dedicated teams will be responsible for uniting local NHS and local government, including social care, mental health services and public health advice, to deliver integrated care for local populations.
Finally, the Bill will also introduce measures to tackle obesity and also improve oral health.
“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,” said Javid.
In response to the introduction of the Health and Care Bill, the BMA’s deputy chair David Wrigley said: “Whilst in the midst of a pandemic and facing the largest backlog on record, the BMA has consistently raised concerns whether now is the right time to introduce wholesale reforms.”
“The NHS since its inception has been subject to countless reorganisations, which never fully achieve what they set out to only have to go back to the drawing board. And now in 2021, the NHS finds itself in the most precarious position it has ever been in,” he added.