Trusts welcome second reading of landmark Health and Care Bill but outstanding questions remain

14 July 2021

Ahead of the second reading of the Health and Care Bill in the House of Commons today, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"We welcome the second reading of the Health and Care Bill today, which sets out the biggest reforms to the NHS in nearly a decade.

"Trusts have been at the vanguard of efforts to create closer collaboration and to support integration between health and care. This Bill will put those foundations on a firmer footing, enabling trusts and their partners to work better together as they seek to build healthier communities.

"Trust leaders broadly welcome the direction of the Bill, but there are several outstanding areas of concern where we are asking MPs and Peers to seek clarity, reassurances and safeguards as the Bill progresses through parliament.

"First, we are asking parliamentarians to examine plans to give ministers sweeping new powers of direction on issues including the operational and clinical independence of the NHS as well as over processes such as procurement, treatment, drug funding and the hiring and firing of frontline NHS leaders.

We are also urging MPs to scrutinise proposals to give ministers greater powers in decisions over how local services are configured.

Saffron Cordery    Interim Chief Executive

"We are also urging MPs to scrutinise proposals to give ministers greater powers in decisions over how local services are configured. We are keen to ensure that changes which improve quality and safety are not inappropriately blocked or subject to undue political pressure or interference.

"It's also important that new integrated care systems are developed in response to local needs, rather than a cookie cutter or one-size-fits all approach.

"And we are continuing to call for a careful balance in how new potential controls on capital spending may be applied to foundation trusts in local systems. We want to avoid a situation where trusts are being told to limit their spending on new equipment and buildings, risking quality of care.

"It's also vital this Bill also addresses the longstanding lack of a transparent, costed and funded long term workforce plan.

"Today is the first major step in what will be an incredibly complex process of scrutinising a major piece of health legislation. But we look forward to working with parliamentarians and the government as this Bill progresses through parliament to ensure the views of frontline trusts are fully represented."

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