Health and Social Care Bill Becomes Law

The controversial Health and Social Care Bill gained Royal Assent yesterday becoming law in the form of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

According to the Department of Health, the fundamental principles of the Act mean that doctors and nurses will be able to adapt services for their patients, more choice will be given to patients over how they are treated, and bureaucracy in the NHS will be reduced. The implementation of the Act will now allow clinical leaders, patients’ representatives and local government to all take new and empowering roles in shaping more effective services.

Andrew Lansley said, “the Health and Social Care Act will deliver more power to clinicians, it will put patients at the heart of the NHS, and it will reduce the costs of bureaucracy…We now have an opportunity to secure clinical leadership to deliver improving quality and outcomes; better results for patients is our objective.”

The Bill becomes law on the same day that a draft copy of the Government’s risk register was leaked. The register highlights “real and predicted” risks from the NHS reforms such as the risk of loss of financial control, reduced productivity and emergencies being less well managed.

The Department of Health, which refused to comment on the leak, has resisted a ruling from the Information Commissioner that it should release the final version of the risk register in response to a freedom of information request from the Labour Party.

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