Health and Care Bill
The Health and Care Bill is changing some of the structures around the NHS, CQC responsibilities, and new provisions of social care. The Bill builds on the proposals for legislative change set out by NHS England in its Long Term Plan, while also incorporating valuable lessons learnt from the pandemic that will benefit both staff and patients.
The Bill will ensure each part of England has an Integrated Care Board and an Integrated Care Partnership responsible for bringing together local NHS and local government, such as social care, mental health services and public health advice, to deliver joined up care for its local population. Clinicians, carers and public health experts will be empowered to operate collaboratively across health and care, as part of plans to tackle inequalities and level up health across the country.
Carers UK is campaigning to both safeguard and improve carers’ rights within the NHS as part of the Health and Care Bill.
You can read about Carers UK campaign here
We fully support Carers UK
Carers UK has encouraged Government to ensure that carers were involved and consulted. The Bill includes some important new provisions to consult carers, including a duty on NHS England to ensure that carers are consulted and involved in their commissioning, and a duty on the newly proposed Integrated Care Boards to consult and involve carers in public consultations and to consult carers, where appropriate, in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients. The inclusion of carers is welcome.
However, the Health and Care Bill, unfortunately removes the important rights of carers at the point of hospital discharge which Carers UK regards as a negative step.
In the Bill we are calling for Government to:
- Keep carers’ rights at the point of hospital discharge, to ensure the carer is supported and the patient is safe to discharge
- Improve the Bill by placing a duty on the NHS to have regard to carers and to promote their health and wellbeing – giving the NHS specific responsibilities to consider carers in their own right
- Introduce new provisions to ensure a sufficiency of supply of breaks services and to strengthen carers’ rights to a break
- Carers’ access to breaks is essential to managing their own health and wellbeing and to prevent carer-breakdown. However, carers struggled to access meaningful breaks even before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 44% saying they ‘did not get the breaks they needed’. This situation has only worsened during the pandemic, where 72% of carers have not had any breaks at all.