The Health and Social Care Act 2012, as clarified by parliament.uk, states that it involves the following:
- establishes an independent NHS Board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidance
- increases GPs’ powers to commission services on behalf of their patients
- strengthens the role of the Care Quality Commission
- develops Monitor, the body that currently regulates NHS foundation trusts, into an economic regulator to oversee aspects of access and competition in the NHS
- cuts the number of health bodies to help meet the Government’s commitment to cut NHS administration costs by a third, including abolishing Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities.
The reforms have been the most significant reforms to the NHS ever with a purpose to abolish NHS primary care trusts and Strategic Health Authorities. A primary care trust is a service which commission primary, community and secondary care from providers. The Strategic Health Authorities are responsible for enacting the directives and implementing fiscal policy as dictated by the Department of Health at a regional level. The reforms were introduced by the ex-secretary of state for health, Andrew Lansley.
The Act was very controversial due to a lot of the proposals not being mentioned in the Conservative manifesto of 2010, but brought up at a later date. But 2 months later a white paper was published outlining the proposal of Health an Social Care reform. White papers are documents which outline future policy as proposed by Government.
The controversial nature of this change in policy can be highlighted by the high level of scrutiny it received – with over 1000 amendments before it could be passed, receiving royal assent on 27th March 2012. Pressure group activity was high with groups such as the British Medical Association lobbying governmental committees to reach an agreement – that was to set up an NHS Forum before the act had passed. Other groups vehemently opposed the reforms, such as ’38Degrees’, ‘NHS Direct Action’ and ‘Keep our NHS public’. Protests had also been frequent with the group ‘UK Uncut’ leading a protest on Westminster Bridge and ’38 Degrees’ rectifying a plethora of billboards across London.
What are your views on the Health and Social Care Act 2012? I would be particularly interested in hearing from Americans who have recently had the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) come into law…
Thanks for reading,