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NHS Accountability Framework

Volume 660: debated on Tuesday 21 May 2019

I will today lay before Parliament the Government’s 2019-20 accountability framework with NHS England and NHS Improvement. For the first time, this combines the Government’s annual statutory mandate to NHS England with the annual remit set for NHS Improvement.

NHS England oversees the commissioning of health services in England and NHS Improvement oversees and holds to account NHS foundation trusts, NHS trusts, and independent providers of NHS-funded care. Working together they will play a vital role in leading the NHS as it takes forward its long term plan, which has been created in partnership with doctors, nurses, other clinicians and builds on the views and insights of patients and the public. They have come together under a joint senior leadership team to do this effectively and the Government are supporting them with a funding settlement that will see the NHS’s annual budget increase by £33.9 billion by 2023-24, the largest cash settlement in the history of the NHS.

This is an important year for the NHS as it transitions into full implementation of the NHS long term plan while at the same time ensuring that every patient in England will continue to receive vital services as the country leaves the EU. To put it beyond doubt that these are the most important things that the NHS has to deliver this year, the accountability framework sets NHS England and NHS Improvement two objectives for 2019-20: to ensure the effective delivery of the long term plan, and to support the Government in managing the effects of EU Exit on health and care.

The framework clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment to NHS staff, to the public, to patients and to taxpayers, that the long term plan will be delivered and that the safety and quality of NHS services will be safeguarded through a period of change. As required by the Act, NHS England and Healthwatch England have been consulted on the objectives set in it, along with NHS Improvement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are co-ordinating a system-wide process of implementation planning, at both local and national level. This will culminate in a national implementation programme for the long term plan to 2023-24, and an NHS workforce implementation plan, by the end of 2019. My intention is then to set a further accountability framework from 2020-21 to 2023-24 taking account of these, the outcome of our spending review, the needs of patients and the public, and the views of Government.

As in previous years, I will also today re-lay the mandate for 2018-19. This is to take account of in-year revisions to NHS England’s budget for 2018-19. There are no other changes.