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NHS: Principles

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the joint statement on NHS principles, published on 3 July 2008, was presented to Parliament. [HL1170]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what purpose is served by the joint statement on NHS principles, published on 3 July 2008. [HL1171]

To ask Her Majesty's Government who initiated the discussions that led to the joint statement on NHS principles published on 3 July 2008; what discussions and meetings were held to draft the statement; and who attended those meetings. [HL1172]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation took place with non-government groups in the drafting of the joint statement on NHS principles published on 3 July 2008; and with whom this consultation took place. [HL1173]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what role the joint statement on NHS principles, published on 3 July 2008, has played in the drafting of the NHS Constitution. [HL1174]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to publicise the joint statement on NHS principles, published on 3 July 2008. [HL1232]

The joint statement on NHS principles was published on 3 July 2008 as a joint press release from the department, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly. It made clear that, while health is a devolved responsibility, the core principles on which the National Health Service operates are shared across the UK; the 60th anniversary of the NHS was an opportunity to reaffirm this.

The statement reflected discussions between the devolved Administrations, and was based on the principles published in the draft NHS Constitution on 30 June 2008. There was no formal consultation on the statement itself, but the draft NHS Constitution drew on an extensive process of informal consultation, including a major deliberative event that involved many stakeholders from non-government organisations. A consultation on the NHS Constitution explained how the draft NHS Constitution was developed, and how the principles in it derived from the founding legislation of the NHS and from the principles in the NHS Plan of 2000.

Since then, full public consultation on the constitution last autumn has revealed broad support for the principles, and they were restated in the final NHS Constitution published on 21 January 2009. The NHS Constitution applies to the NHS in England only, although the Handbook to the NHS Constitution emphasises that the core principles of the NHS are shared across all parts of the United Kingdom.

In The NHS Constitution: Government Response to Consultation, we set out the steps we intend to take to publicise the constitution as a whole, including the principles.

Copies of the documents referred to have been placed in the Library. The final NHS Constitution and its related publications may also be found at www.dh.gov.uk/nhsconstitution. A Consultation on the NHS Constitution may be found at www.dh.gov.uk/en/consultations/closedconsultations/DH_085812.