27th July 2010
Greater freedom for the NHS
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday set out proposals to free the NHS to focus on improving services and outcomes for patients.
‘Regulating Healthcare Providers’ makes the case for releasing foundation trusts so we have the most vibrant social enterprise sector anywhere in the world. Monitor will be given new powers to defend the interests of patients and the public, through regulating prices and protecting choice and competition.
In the White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’, the Government set out that all NHS trusts will become foundation trusts by 2013. The consultation published today puts forward proposals to free up foundation trusts to innovate for improved outcomes and services by:
- removing the statutory private income cap to give trusts opportunities to expand the services they offer to patients – but ensuring that they remain focussed on providing NHS services;
- removing statutory borrowing limits that are not imposed on voluntary or private providers;
- making it easier for a foundation trust to merge or take over another trust; and
- giving more flexibility to foundation trusts to allow greater staff and patient involvement – with the possibility of some smaller organisations being led only by employees.
Monitor will become the economic regulator for the NHS, sitting alongside the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who will continue to regulate quality. It will be responsible for:
- licensing providers of NHS services in an integrated and streamlined registration and licensing regime with the CQC;
- setting tariff prices for NHS services;
- promoting competition so that the NHS gives patients the best possible services and outcomes, and ensuring a level playing field for providers; and
- supporting commissioners in ensuring that services for patients are maintained when providers fail.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:
“In order to truly improve health outcomes and the service the NHS gives to patients, it must be free from the shackles of central control. All NHS trusts will become foundation trusts and they will have greater freedom so that they can concentrate on being more responsive to patients.
“We will remove the statutory borrowing limit and the ill thought through private income cap from foundation trusts – this will give the NHS opportunities to expand the services it offers to patients, with all profits reinvested in patient care.
“Competition and patient choice together will improve services, stimulate innovation and increase productivity. In its new expanded role, Monitor will ensure a level playing field that rewards the best and most efficient providers that continuously improve services for the people they serve – the patients.”
Phone: For enquiries please contact the Department of Health (DH) Media Centre on 020 7210 5221
Notes to editors
(Source – News Distribution Service for Government and the Public Sector)