The government will use its forthcoming Care Bill to make it a criminal offence for NHS providers to provide false and misleading information about their performance, it said today.

A government briefing note on the forthcoming bill, which was set out in the Queen’s speech this morning, said it would introduce “a number of measures in response to the Francis Inquiry” into the care scandal at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

It said the main elements of this “legislative response to failings at Stafford hospital” would be:

  • Making it “a criminal offence for providers to provide false and misleading information about their performance”;
  • Introducing “Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and care homes that would allow patients and the public to compare organisations or services in a fair and balanced way”; and
  • Giving “the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC power to identify problems with the quality of care and ensure action is taken more effectively than before”.

The note said the legislation would give people “complete confidence that wherever they go for treatment or care, they get the best care by taking immediate action to address a number of Robert Francis’s findings”.

As expected, the Queen’s speech confirmed the bill would introduce from April 2016 a £72,000 cap on the amount individuals will be expected to contribute to their social care costs.

The briefing said it would also:

  • Enshrine “a right for the millions of carers in England to receive support from their local council” and for “the first time introduce a duty to meet carers eligible needs for support, and introduce a new adult safeguarding framework”.
  • Create “a legislative framework that helps, not hinders, integrated care so that we achieve better results for people”;
  • Provide “a new legal entitlement for everyone to a personal budget, which they can receive as a direct payment if they wish to, giving people more control”; and
  • Clarify “how people will be protected from their care being disrupted if their care provider goes out of business” and introduce “new oversight of the providers that would be the most difficult to replace if they were to fail”.

The bill will also be used to establish Health Education England and the Health Research Authority as non-departmental public bodies.

The Queen’s speech also set out plans for the government’s Immigration Bill, which briefing notes said would “regulate migrant access to the NHS, ensuring that temporary migrants make a contribution”.