The government’s detailed coalition agreement Our Programme for Government, together with a further document sent to strategic health authorities this week, set out 30 pledges on the NHS and a further four on public health.
- Turning the foundation trust regulator Monitor into an economic regulator overseeing “aspects of access, competition and price setting in the NHS”.
- Strengthening the power of GPs as “patients’ expert guides”, allowing them to commission care on their behalf.
- A 24-hour urgent care service in England, “including GP out-of-hours services” with a renegotiated GP contract, including an incentive system to improve primary care in “disadvantaged areas”.
- “Reform” of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and a move to a system of value-based pricing to promote better access to “treatments doctors think they [patients] need”.
- Stopping the “centrally dictated” closure of A&E and maternity wards with tests to establish clinical support (see page 6).
- A commission reporting “within a year” on the funding of long-term social care, aiming towards a “partnership” approach - a reference to the 2006 proposals from Sir Derek Wanless and the King’s Fund.
- Ringfenced public health budgets, held by primary care trusts, with incentives for GPs to tackle health inequalities and reforms to alcohol pricing.
- Dedicated hospital wards for injured military personnel and extra support for veterans with mental health problems.
For a full list see www.hsj.co.uk/coalition