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16
Dec

More funding to drive NHS improvement


The Government today set out the next steps in its plan to reform the NHS and that £89 billion will go direct to PCTs for frontline services – an increase of £2.6bn in cash, equivalent to a three per cent increase in funding for the NHS.

 

‘Liberating the NHS: Legislative Framework and Next Steps’, published yesterday, reaffirms the Government’s commitment to the reforms set out in July in its White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’. It shows how the Government has developed its thinking in the light of the 6,000 responses received, and sets out a timetable for implementation. It also paves the way for the introduction of a flagship Bill in the New Year.

 

The reforms will create an NHS that puts patients at the heart of everything it does, focuses relentlessly on improving healthcare outcomes and liberates professionals at every level to take decisions in the best interests of patients.

 

The response to the consultation demonstrated support for the principles set out in the White Paper. The feedback has been carefully considered and the Government has listened to concerns, deciding on changes including that the commissioning of maternity services will now sit with GP consortia, and councils’ formal scrutiny powers will be extended to cover all NHS-funded services, and local authorities will have greater freedom in how these are exercised.

 

Already, 52 GP consortia have signed up as pathfinders to manage their local budgets and commission services for patients. In total, the pathfinders involve 1860 GP practices and cover around 25% of the population – some 12.8 million people.

 

Also published were the PCT Allocations and NHS Operating Framework for 2011/12. This package together sets what the NHS must do next year in order to secure a patient-centred, outcome-focused service.

 

The Operating Framework sets out what NHS organisations must focus on in 2011/12 to prepare for transition to the new system of GP commissioning. The Operating Framework also asks the NHS to prioritise the implementation of earlier diagnosis for cancer patients, potentially saving thousands of lives.

 

Today’s announcements are backed by £89 billion of funding for PCTs to spend next year on commissioning services for patients – an increase of £2.6 billion from 2010/11. This will include money for commissioning dentistry, ophthalmic and pharmacy services as well as, for the first time, money to support social care. This increase of 3 per cent demonstrates the Government’s commitment to protecting health funding in a tough financial climate.

 

Commenting on the Operating Framework and PCT allocations, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said “We believe that the NHS is a great national institution and support its founding principles – that care is free at the point of use to everyone, based on need, not ability to pay. Our commitment means that funding for the NHS will increase every year.  I am proud that we are living up to our commitment to the NHS – the total allocations to Primary Care Trusts will increase next year by 3 per cent on average, with not less than 2.5% and up to 4.9% increase for individual PCTs.  It provides a strong platform to sustain and improve NHS services.”

 

[quote top=Commenting on ‘Liberating the NHS: Legislative Framework and Next Steps’, he continued] Today is a launch-pad for the NHS we all aspire to. One that is focused increasingly on what matters: better results for patients.[/quote]

 

NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson said “The coming year will demand much from the NHS. The challenge for us is to maintain and improve quality, keep strong financial control and create a new system that improves outcomes for patients. The Operating Framework sets out priorities for the NHS that will support and enable organisations to remain focused on their core purpose of delivering improved quality for patients while creating real energy and momentum for change.”

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