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Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the NHS will demonstrate progress in planning and developing the levels of service quality described in the National Service Framework for Long-term Neurological Conditions following the end of the planning period; how this demonstration of progress will be published; and what further consultation there will be on progress on the delivery of key national service frameworks objectives. (243553)

The National Service Framework (NSF) for Long-term Conditions, published in March 2005, focuses on improving services for people with neurological conditions across England. Since publication of the NSF, the Department has co-ordinated a range of activity to help local health and social care organisations take forward implementation of the NSF. This includes:

working with key national health service, social care, voluntary and independent sector stakeholders, as well as service users and carers, to identify and address key issues in neurological services and the stakeholders’ role in implementation;

ensuring that other key delivery programmes, most especially the White Paper “Our Health, Our Say” and the long-term conditions strategy help deliver key NSF objectives; and

work with the Care Services Improvement Partnership to promote implementation of the NSF through a co-ordinated work programme, including regional workshops, a web-based getting started pack and self-assessment tool for services.

The NSF is for implementation over 10 years and local bodies can set their own pace of change within this period, according to local priorities. However, the Planning Framework makes clear that the NHS and local authorities will need to demonstrate that they are making progress in planning and developing the levels of service quality described in the NSF over the course of the three year planning period (2005-08).

For the first time, in 2008-09, the Healthcare Commission’s Annual Healthcheck will cover primary care trust (PCT) roles both as providers and commissioners in two separate parts of the overall assessment. Assessment of PCTs as providers will include their compliance with health care and quality standards, and ongoing clinical quality investigations as appropriate. Looking at PCTs as commissioners, the Healthcare Commission will identify whether PCTs are achieving core standards and their performance against national priorities such as National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance and NSFs in their commissioning functions.