Responding to the publication of the Government’s new Health and Care Bill, David Furness, Director of Policy at the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), said:
“We welcome the publication of this Bill which signals the start of an important debate about the future direction of the NHS.
“As the new Health Secretary rightly stated last week, tackling the growing backlog of NHS treatment will need to be an “absolute priority” for the Government in the coming months and years. While we welcome the move towards more integrated services, with almost 400,000 people now waiting over one year for care it’s vital that this legislation is judged not only on whether it ensures that patients receive integrated, joined up care, but also that patients have quick access to diagnosis and treatment.
“Indeed, with NHS waiting times at record levels and challenges across acute, community and primary care services, there needs to be a clear plan in place and an “all shoulders to the wheel” approach taken by the health system to improve patient access to care. And as the Health and Social Care Committee have rightly argued, it’s vital ICSs draw on the experience and expertise of all parts of the healthcare system – including those in the independent, voluntary and social enterprise sector – with a new procurement regime that encourages innovation rather than incumbency.
“Today’s Bill will shape the quality and delivery of healthcare provision over the next decade. As the legislation works its way through Parliament therefore, it’s vital that these reforms are given the fullest possible scrutiny to ensure patients have swift access to the best and most innovative services in new Integrated Care Systems, alongside clear mechanisms in place to challenge poorly performing services.”