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NHS 2010-15

Volume 502: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

I have today laid before Parliament “The NHS 2010-15: from good to great. Preventative, people-centred, productive” (Cm 7775). The paper is in the Library and copies are available for hon. Members from the Vote Office.

“The NHS 2010-15” maps out how we will build on the achievements of the last decade to create a more preventative and people-centred NHS—a service that is better for patients, but also more productive. It is intended to give the NHS time to plan for the challenges of a new era.

In the past, a tougher financial environment has meant that patients have paid the price through longer waits. But this will not happen this time. We will not back away from the NHS. The Pre-Budget report confirms that we can lock in the achievements of the last decade, while protecting staff and the service as a whole.

The document also sets out how we will continue to improve the NHS, according to the principles set out in the next stage review. It outlines the following key steps:

a new payment system which puts patients first, and ensures they get the high quality care they deserve. A growing proportion of hospital’s income will be linked to patient satisfaction, rising to 10 per cent. of their payments over time. Poor or unsafe care will not be tolerated—payments will be withdrawn if care does not meet minimum standards;

more choice for patients—giving them the right to register with a GP wherever they choose, a guarantee of seeing a doctor in the evenings and weekends in every area, and more access to services—like chemotherapy and dialysis—at home or in the community;

dedicated carers for patients with cancer or serious long-term conditions who can benefit from a more personal approach to nursing. We expect all parts of the NHS to review continually the way long-term conditions are managed and to seek out and adopt best practice. Where appropriate this should include the provision of personalised one-to-one support by a health professional, particularly for the more complex conditions. We will consider and cost the possibility of a patient entitlement in this area. This will benefit millions of people;

new rights to high quality care—including the right for patients to die at home. Enshrining the right to a “good death” is the mark of a civilised health system. The NHS will ensure a dying patient can choose where they wish to spend their final days;

more freedom for hospitals. The best NHS foundation trusts will be free to work across a wider area. We will encourage high-performing foundation trusts based in one area to provide both acute and community services in other areas, if the PCTs in those areas want to commission from them; and

greater emphasis on prevention—we want the NHS to intervene earlier and prevent more disease. We will provide access to personal care plans and health-checks for anyone suffering with a long-term condition. Patients will be invited to discuss and agree their care plan with their clinician, giving them a greater say in their care.

Under this plan services will be reshaped around the needs of patients more radically than ever before. The NHS and its staff will need to adapt as they strive to make the changes necessary, but they will be supported in doing so. The results will be better patient safety, better health outcomes, more satisfied patients—and, ultimately, a stronger NHS.