Health Secretary Matt Hancock, supported by NHS England and health and care system leaders, will launch new proposals setting out a more joined-up vision for health and care services, as well as embedding lessons learned during the pandemic into standard care.
Improving quality and accessibility of care, as well as tackling health inequalities, are key objectives of the NHS and health leadership, with measures expected to be introduced to help address obesity, oral health and patient choice.
Full details of the measures set out by Mr Hancock today will be accessible via a whitepaper published by the Government.
It will aim to modernise the legal framework to make the health and care system fit for the future, putting clear, achievable targets for improvement in place to bolster the delivery of both public health and social care.
Local health and care systems will also be supported to deliver higher quality care to their communities, as well as with reduced legal bureaucracy, greater accountability and a more joined-up system of care - one which will bring together NHS, local government and other shareholders to work together to tackle the needs of their communities.
These proposals are intended to build on the NHS’ recommendations for legislative change, set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, and are due to be announced a decade on from the last major piece of health and care legislation.
The NHS has made practical adaptations and amendments to its service delivery within the confines of the current legal framework, but often this has been found to be unnecessarily time consuming - with changes now identified as a necessary part of the future pandemic recovery process.
Should the proposals be successfully introduced, the NHS, care organisations and individuals should all benefit from integrated care as the default, reduced legal bureaucracy, and better support for social care, public health and the health service.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The NHS and local government have long been calling for better integration and less burdensome bureaucracy, and this virus has made clear the time for change is now.
“These changes will allow us to build back better and bottle the innovation and ingenuity of our brilliant staff during the pandemic, where progress was made despite the legal framework, rather than because of it.
“The proposals build on what the NHS has called for and will become the foundations for a health and care system which is more integrated, more innovative and responsive, and more ready to respond to the challenges of tomorrow, from health inequalities to our ageing population.”
Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, added: “Our legislative proposals go with the grain of what patients and staff across the health service all want to see – more joined-up care, less legal bureaucracy and a sharper focus on prevention, inequality and social care.
“This legislation builds on the past seven years of practical experience and experimentation across the health service and the flexible ‘can-do’ spirit NHS staff have shown in spades throughout the pandemic.”
The proposals are designed to be flexible, allowing the health and care system to continue to evolve, and are designed to better equip the NHS and local health services to meet the longer-term health and societal challenges over the coming decades.