Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP on the white paper on health and social care

We were pleased to have the opportunity to raise a number of key issues relating to the government’s white paper, Integration and innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all, in our written evidence and in the committee evidence session on 2 March. We now write to follow up our oral evidence with five areas that we think are important for the committee to address in its inquiry report.

The committee is in a unique position to help ensure that the forthcoming Bill provides an enabling legislative framework that supports the health and care sector, and the providers we represent, to deliver high quality care for patients and service users. We therefore ask the committee, in formulating its conclusions and recommendations, to consider the following issues as a priority:

  1. The proposed new power of direction for the secretary of state for health and social care over the new merged NHS England must be framed in a way that maintains the NHS’s clinical and operational independence.
  2. The secretary of state’s powers over local reconfigurations.
  3. For integrated care systems to function effectively, they need a sufficiently permissive legislative framework and clarity around how accountabilities fit together across health and care.
  4. The Bill needs to go further than simply set out how workforce accountabilities are distributed.
  5. The proposed power on NHS Foundation Trusts’ capital spending limits must reflect the precise wording of the 2019 proposals developed by NHS England and Improvement and endorsed by this committee in its report on those proposals.