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Royal Assent given for Health and Social Care Bill

28th March 2012

The government’s Health and Social Care Bill has gained Royal Assent to become the Health and Social Care Act (2012).

doctorsandnurses

Under the Act, doctors and nurses will be able to tailor services for their patients, more choice will be given to patients over how they are treated, and bureaucracy in the NHS will be reduced, say the Department of Health.

The main planks of the act will: devolve power to front-line doctors and nurses; aim to drive up quality with patients will benefit from a renewed focus on improving quality and outcomes; place strong duties on the health service to promote integration of services; give responsibility for local public health services to local authorities will ensure that they are able to pull together the work done by the NHS, social care, housing, environmental health, leisure and transport services; offer patients more information and choice on how the NHS is performing and the range of providers they can choose for their healthcare; and strengthen local democratic involvement.

The DoH also suggests it will reduce bureaucracy with two layers of management – Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities – being removed.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The Health and Social Care Act will deliver more power to clinicians, it will put patients at the heart of the NHS, and it will reduce the costs of bureaucracy.”

Professor Steve Field, chair of the NHS Future Forum, said it was now important for the government to work with patients, health professionals and organisations “to put the freedoms the Bill offers into practice.”

 

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