A package of measures to improve oversight and accountability in the delivery of social care services will be laid out in Parliament today, the government has said.
The new health and care Bill builds on proposals announced in February to put integrated care systems on a statutory footing.
The measures include improved government oversight in the delivery of social care, updating the legal framework to enable person-centred models of hospital discharge and giving the Secretary of State improved powers to make payments directly to adult social care providers when required.
The government said the Bill will ensure each part of England has an Integrated Care Board and an Integrated Care Partnership responsible for bringing together local NHS and local government services, such as social care, to deliver joined up care for its local population.
Under the plans, clinicians, carers and public health experts will be empowered to operate collaboratively across health and care, as part of plans to tackle inequalities and level up health across the country.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The astonishing response of our health and care services to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit fast-forward on some of the bold changes the NHS set out to deliver in its Long Term Plan and shone the spotlight on other areas that require change to achieve better care for our communities.
“To help meet demand, build a better health service and bust the backlog, we need to back the NHS, as it celebrates its 73rd birthday this week, and embed lessons learned from the pandemic. This will support our health and care services to be more integrated and innovative so the NHS can deliver for people in the decades to come.”
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “This Bill contains widely supported proposals for integrated care, which have been developed and consulted on over recent years by the NHS itself. They go with the grain of what our staff and patients can see is needed, by removing outdated and bureaucratic legal barriers to joined-up working between GPs, hospitals, and community services.
“In doing so, these pragmatic reforms build on the sensible and practical changes already well underway right across the NHS. And by enabling mutual support between different parts of the local health and care services they will undoubtedly both help tackle health inequalities and speed the recovery of care disrupted by the covid pandemic.”
The Minister of Care has recently indicated that the health and care Bill will lead to an improvement in the way home care is commissioned in England.
Speaking in Parliament last month, Helen Whately said: “There is some really interesting and important work has been done on commissioning, looking at the outcomes of care rather than being so focused on inputs.
“One of the opportunities of the oversight system that we propose through the health and care Bill is that it will shine a light on the different ways in which local authorities commission care and give more visibility to what works. Those ways of commissioning that do not lead to such good outcomes can therefore learn from others. We look forward to seeing an improvement in how care is commissioned and, therefore, the care that people receive.”