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NHS White Paper

Volume 516: debated on Monday 18 October 2010

Today I am publishing two further consultation documents seeking views on proposals set out in the White Paper, “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” (Cm 7881). We are consulting on proposals for an information revolution and to give patients greater choice and control. The vision set out in the White Paper is of an NHS and social care system that puts patients and the public first and is more responsive to their needs and wishes—an NHS where patients, service users, carers and families have far more influence and choice in the system and where they have the information they need. “Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control—A consultation on proposals” and “Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution—A consultation on proposals” have been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office. The documents are also available electronically at

“Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control—A consultation on proposals” further develops the choice commitments set out in the White Paper to:

increase the current offer of choice of any provider significantly;

create a presumption that all patients will have choice and control over their care and treatment and that all patients will have a choice of any willing provider wherever relevant;

introduce choice of named consultant-led team for elective care by April 2011 where clinically appropriate;

extend maternity choice;

begin to introduce choice of treatment and provider in some mental health services from April 2011;

begin to introduce choice for diagnostic testing from 2011;

begin to introduce choice post-diagnosis from 2011;

introduce choice in care for long-term conditions as part of personalised planning;

move towards a national choice offer to support people’s preferences about end-of-life care; and

consult on choice of treatment.

The proposals envisage choice of treatment and health care provider becoming the reality in the vast majority of NHS-funded services by no later than 2013-14.

The second consultation “Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution—A consultation on proposals” is about transforming the way information is collected, analysed, controlled and used in NHS and adult social care services. The information revolution is about moving:

away from information belonging to the system, to patients and service users being clearly in control;

away from patients and service users merely receiving care, to patients and service users being active participants in their care;

away from information based on administrative and technical needs, to information based on patient and service user consultation and good clinical and professional practice;

away from top-down information collection, to a focus on meeting the needs of individuals and local communities;

away from a culture in which information was held close and recorded in forms that were difficult to compare, to one characterised by openness, transparency and comparability;

away from the Government being the main provider of information about the quality of services to a range of organisations being able to offer service information to a variety of audiences; and

in relation to digital technologies, away from an approach where we expect every organisation to use the same system, to one where we connect and join up systems.

These consultations are opportunities to seek the views of patients, the wider public and the NHS, about the challenges that lie ahead, how we can successfully address them, and how we best take forward the choice and information commitments. Responses to the consultation will help us shape how greater choice and control and the information revolution are delivered.

The consultation period for both documents will close on 14 January 2011.