At the heart of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 is the Government’s ambition to give greater autonomy to healthcare professionals while ensuring patients’ views are at the centre of decisions made about them. The health reform agenda aims to improve healthcare outcomes, cut bureaucracy, and improve efficiency, creating an NHS that works much better across boundaries and across key stakeholders (including local authorities, hospitals, GP practices and the voluntary sector). Overall the agenda is focused on increasing choice for patients by enabling a wide range of health care providers to deliver services.
VCSES organisations are ideally placed to suggest innovative solutions to some of the challenges faced in health, public health and social care, and have a strong role to play in delivering better health and wellbeing outcomes as:
- Providers of public services
- Advocates and support organisations –particularly for the most excluded
- Partners in the co-design and production of services
- Involvers and engagers of local communities
The sector`s role in bringing voice and patient , service user and community experience to health and social care services will be essential. The development of local Healthwatch and the importance of having strong connections between Healthwatch and the VCSE will also be critical.
The Department of Health has produced a range of factsheets including an Overview of the Bill, key policy areas and cross-cutting themes.
Commissioning for Health event in the North East
In the same week that the NHS reform: health and social care bill passed its final hurdle, a Commissioning for Health event in the North East was providing a space for the VCSE to consider what impact this might have on their organisations and subsequently their services. Read about it here.
Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum
The Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum has published its proposals on how health-related care for children and young people can be improved.
The independent Forum was asked to help develop a new strategy for improving care for children and young people, and identified several themes that it says are key to making the improvements needed:
- putting children, young people and their families at the heart of what happens
- acting early and intervening at the right time
- integration and partnership
- safe and sustainable services
- workforce, education and training
- knowledge and evidence
- leadership, accountability and assurance
The Forum recommends a number of new outcomes measures and the strengthening of existing indicators and makes specific recommendations for different organisations within the health and care system to ensure the improvements are achieved.