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Health Services

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government have taken to make NHS services more personalised. (206716)

The following table summarises the recent developments to make national health service services more personalised. The Government are taking forward Lord Darzi's vision for personalised care as set out in his interim report, “Our NHS, our future”, copies of the interim report are available in the Library. Lord Darzi's final report will be published in the summer.


What's been done

Choice and personalisation

With effect from 1 April 2008:

Most patients who are referred for elective care will be able to choose to be treated by any NHS funded provider—in essence, any provider that holds a standard NHS contract. This includes NHS foundation trusts, NHS acutes and many independent sector providers and their hospitals. This is free choice;

We also expect primary care trusts (PCTs) to improve care for people with long-term conditions (LTCs) and to ensure more choices for these patients. We expect PCTs to roll out choice to all people in their area with an LTC, with local flexibility on the pace and priorities, and we have supported this by publishing a model of care for long-term conditions, embedded in effective care planning, that provides good practice examples aimed at reducing inequalities; and

PCTs are taking forward commitments to introduce choice of services for maternity.

Care planning

We are planning to issue a framework for commissioners in June 2008, which will describe care planning as a process, centred around the person, which supports and promotes personalisation. During 2008, we will bring forward a patients' prospectus that sets out how we will extend to all 15 million patients with a chronic or long-term condition access to a choice of "active patient” or “care at home” options—clinically appropriate to them and supported by the NHS.

Information Prescriptions (IPs)

IPs are being introduced for everyone with a LTC which will guide them to relevant and reliable sources of information to allow them to feel more in control and better able to manage their condition.

NHS Choices

NHS Choices is the NHS's online service for the public—the digital wing of the NHS. Launched in 2007, it is a response to the 21st century challenges of delivering high-quality personalised services for all. It is regularly updated to provide more information to patients.

Choice and mental health

We are committed to giving people with mental health problems choice and a more personalised service, including making more information available about mental illness to help people manage their own care. In the last year, work has been on-going, both locally and nationally, to increase the level of choice offered to people with mental health problems.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government intend to take to encourage primary care trusts to be more responsive to their local communities. (206751)

The World Class Commissioning Programme aims to dramatically transform the way health and care services are commissioned in this country. As commissioners, primary care trusts (PCTs) act on behalf of the public and patients. They are responsible for investing funds on behalf of their communities, and building local trust and legitimacy through the process of engagement with their local population. In order to make world class commissioning decisions that reflect the needs, priorities and aspirations of the local population, commissioners will need to engage with the public, and actively seek the views of patients, carers and the wider community. Decisions should be made with a strong mandate from the local population and other partners.

The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 contained important measures designed to strengthen the patient and public involvement system in England, including the introduction of local involvement networks (LINks) and the updated duty on NHS bodies to involve users of health services.

The Act established duties on health and social care services-providers—including PCTs—to respond to LINks when they report on the needs and experiences of local people in respect of their health and social care services.

LINks, together with the new duty on national health service bodies to involve, and to report on consultations, will play a vital role in encouraging and enabling a greater range of people to influence the commissioning and provision of health and social care bringing real accountability to the whole system, from commissioning to front-line care.

All of these changes are aimed at promoting open and transparent communication between communities and the health service, and will develop trust and confidence, increasing accountability to local people.