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Draft mandate for NHS Commissioning Board published

DH begins consultation on care objectives for the NHS

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 05 July 2012

The Department of Health has set out the care objectives for the NHS on improving health and healthcare in a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board.

Our NHS care objectives: a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board sets out Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s expectations for the health service and marks the move to a more patient centred, independent, transparent and outcomes focused NHS.

At the heart of the care objectives are a series of standards that broadly cover the range of work the NHS does, which the Health Secretary expects to continue and improve. The standards include: Preventing premature deaths to help people live longer, supporting people with a long-term condition to look after themselves, making sure that people have a positive experience of care in the NHS and treating people in a clean, safe, environment.

The care objectives also include expectations about joining up different services around patients and carers; making the NHS more focused on preventing illness; ensuring patients have more choices about where and how they are treated; and ensuring patients and carers are involved in decisions about care and treatment.

Mr Lansley said: “In the past there has been too much focus on systems and processes rather than people. For the first time we will focus on holding the health service to account for results that make a difference to people.

“The future of the NHS will be based on transparency, autonomy and the deep values that have seen it through six decades of change. Parliament and the public will, like never before, be able to hold the Secretary of State and the NHS to account for what it actually does for patients.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, director of the Nuffield Trust, said: “It is worth putting in one place the main objectives for the NHS that politicians and commissioners can be held to account for. But with much of the methodology to support robust outcomes measurement still developing it is likely to be quite a while before the mandate actually becomes the sharp tool that ministers envisaged.” 

She said it was not clear exactly how all the objectives in the mandate would be measured, including quality of primary care, the experience of patients of care outside hospital, and progress against the QIPP challenge.

“This all means that in the meantime we will need to look elsewhere, for example, in the annual business plans of the Commissioning Board, clinical commissioning groups and health and wellbeing boards to get a sense of whether progress is being made. These plans are not yet developed,” she said.

The mandate is open for consultation until 26 September.

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