Nursing free essay: Health and Social Care Bill 2011
Health and Social Care Bill 2011
NHS changes proposed in the ‘Health and Social Care’ Bill
The Health and Social Care’ Bill proposes several changes to the national health policy framework in England. Transformations to the National Health Service as proposed by the Bill target certain areas of input that require realignment with changing health care provision needs. The Bill as highlighted in the brief discussion below proposes several areas of change to the health and social care (UK Parliament 2011, p1).
Regulating Health and Adult Care Services
Health and social care provision have areas of dissatisfaction before the public and the Bill is dedicated to changes that will introduce regulatory aspects. The reduction of inequalities in the provision of health and social care is highlighted as one of the focus areas for the secretary of state under the new Bill (Dow 2011, p13). In addition, the Bill proposes that the provision of comprehensive health services which include various aspects of health care including mental and physical through proper diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. This aspect proposes that quality of services in the health sector is raised to meet the standards set for continuous improvement in the health sector.
Public Involvement in Health and Social Care Matters
The Bill proposes that the level of public contribution to health and social care service provision is increased (Crisp n.d., p4). Public proposals for development of the services provided are to be highlighted and considered by the NHS Commissioning Board in decisions affecting health care services. The Board will be mandated with establishing of various platforms to involve the public in the identification of the needs of the specific needs and approaches needed for improvement. Establishment of the Public Health England will be the focus of the improvement of public health care provision.
Scrutiny and Cooperation by Health Care Providing Agencies
The roles of the Local Authorities and commissioners of health in the provision of health and social care services are expected to be integrated under the Bill. In view of the need to provide a coordinated service, the government will eliminate unnecessary costs of duplication and offer the benefits of synergies. It is important that scrutiny of the services offered of such diverse service providers is introduced in the improvement proposed by the Bill since accountability issues derail quality service (ACKA Consulting 2008, p1).
Regulating Health and Social Care Workers
The Bill undertakes to offer regulatory authority for the various types of health and social care practitioners as required in a functional system. It is important that the professionals involved in the health care and social sector be regulated for conformity with quality and improvement as envisioned by the Bill (Jeffreys 2009, para.2). In a healthcare system with as many practitioners as England has, lack of regulation could spell the chance for substandard services.
National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence
Continued improvement can only be assured if the professional health and social care has standards spelt out by a centre of excellence in care. Whereas professional bodies in health and social care are currently available in England, focus and dedication on excellence could better be captured in a National Institute responsible for such improvement. The benefits of the National Institute will oversee the distribution of excellent service delivery across the country than it is currently possible under the control of different programs with similar mandate.
Health and Social Care Information Centre
Just as the main mandate of the Bill is improvement of the health service, reliance on information for continued improvement cannot be ignored, particularly in the information age. To this end, the establishment of Health and Social Care Information Centre will facilitate the development of a strong network of information flow ion the best service practices (Allen et al. 2009, p120). Among the most important aspects of the Information Centre is sharing of health and social care data that acts as a setback if missing in healthcare system.
Abolition of certain health and social care bodies
Whereas it is important for strengthening of national institutions providing important services such as health and social care, some of them may grow obsolete with continued changes. To this end, the Bill undertakes to identify such institutions and bodies that no longer offer the expected service as envisioned in the proposed regime (Coleman et al. 211, p31). The abolition of such bodies will allow the proposed institutions as highlighted above to introduce the reforms needed in health and social care sector. Alternatively, this move will be important in the reduction of bureaucracy that incurs extra and unnecessary costs.
Commissioning of health and social care system programs in England will be decentralized. Commissioning power of the government will be spread across consortia of general practitioners, according to their recommendation (Campbell 2011, para.2). In line with the increased level of consultations between the private and public sectors, general practitioners will control much more resources for the commissioning of health and social care deemed appropriate.
Accountability over the national health and social care funds will be improved by the increase of oversight authority through the introduction of bodies such as the Healthwatch (LGA 2012, para3). This is an independent body, whose mandate will be to strengthen the available accountability checks for health and social care services.
The Bill will ensure that the hospitals gain more control of their operations and become freer from the tight control of Whitehall. Semi-independence from Whitehall will enable hospitals to generate their own incomes from conducting private treatments and enable development of hospitals across the country to be independently run.
How the Bill’s Proposed Reforms Address the Problems within the NHS
There are certain challenges that the NHS faces that the Bill will attempt to solve once it becomes law. One of the challenges is inefficiency in the operations of the health and social care system. Perhaps the origin of the inefficiency is due to unclear roles of the secretary of state responsible for health care in addressing inefficiency. The Bill has an introductory section dedicated to the clarification of the role of the secretary of state in elimination of bottlenecks affecting efficiency in healthcare. In addressing the inefficiencies, the secretary of state is provided with specific duties such as ensuring equality in service provision.
The other conspicuous challenge is the unclear mandate of the health and social care system in the provision of public health care services. This Bill is designed with emphasis on the provision of public health care in the United Kingdom and offers solutions to struggling service delivery (Campbell and Gupta 2009, para1). As an illustration, the reorganization of the NHS and support institutions targeting the public setting of health care provision is perhaps important in the improvement of the public health service. Clarification of the mandate of the secretary of state in improvement and protection of public health is highlighted for instance in the elimination of inequalities in provision of services.
Funding of public health facilities is a challenge, particularly with the current budgetary cuts applied in several government institutions. In light of the contributions made by the Bill in reduction of financial challenges experienced in the health care system, moves such as foundation trust institutions capable of generating income through offering of certain private services makes an invaluable contribution.
In addition, the Bill seeks to introduce various bodies for harmonized regulatory authority to bring order to the sector. One of the regulation aspects that the Bill intends to institute targets the health and adult social care while the other regulatory aspect introduced targets the regulation health and social care workers (Crisp n.d., p15). The need of improvement in the NHS can be attributed largely to the lack of harmonized regulation, which the Bill offers to provide. However, criticism of the Bill has been raised on various uncertainties that critics translate to present more danger than the current system presents to the sector (Logan 2012, p707; McCoy 212, p387).
ACKA Consulting (2008) Future Health: Key Challenges facing Hospitals Today, [Online] Available from <http://www.akca.co.uk/files/key-challenges-facing-uk-hospitals-today.pdf> [Accessed 25 February 2012].
Campbell, D. & Gupta, G. (2009) Is Public Healthcare in the UK as Sick as Rightwing America Claims? [Online] Available from <http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reform> [Accessed 25 February 2012].
Campbell, D. (2011) Health and Social Care Bill: The Main Points, [Online] Available from <http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jan/19/health-bill-main-points> [Accessed 25 February 2012].
Crisp, N. (n.d.) Improvement, Expansion and Reform: The Next 3 Years, [Online] Available from <http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4070202.pdf > [Accessed 25 February 2012].
Jeffreys, B. (2009) NHS ‘Faces Huge Budget Shortfall,’ [Online] Available from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8091427.stm> [Accessed 25 February 2012].
Smith, R. (2010) NHS Facing ‘Greatest Challenge’ Over Budget Cuts: Managers, [Online] Available from <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7845932/NHS-facing-greatest-challenge-over-budget-cuts-managers.html> [Accessed 25 February 2012].
UK Parliament (2011) Health and Social Care Bill, [Online] Available from <http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2010-2012/0119/2012119.pdf> [Accessed 25 February 2012].
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