The NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) today pledges to drive a revolution for patients, offering the public more information about quality of care and giving them greater control of their health.
Publishing its planning guidance for 2013/14, the NHS CB aims to help local clinicians deliver more responsive health services, focused on improving outcomes for patients, addressing local priorities and meeting the rights people have under the NHS Constitution.
Called Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013/14, the document outlines the incentives and levers that will be used to improve services from April 2013, the first year of the new NHS where improvement is driven by clinical commissioners. It also addresses health inequalities, so that those most in need gain the most from the support we provide.
The guidance covers a clear set of outcomes against which to measure improvements and outlines five offers: moves toward seven-day a week working for routine NHS services; greater transparency and choice for patients; more patient participation; better data to support the drive to improve services: and higher standards and safer care.
To assist those planning services locally, the NHS Commissioning Board also today publishes comparative information on outcomes for patients in all CCG and local authority areas (this document is no longer available here but can be found on the National Archives website). These outcomes benchmarking packs are intended to support the local planning of health and care.
As the NHS CB continues to prepare to take on its full powers from 1 April 2013, overseeing expenditure of England’s £95.6 billion NHS budget to deliver the Government’s mandate, it also publishes today the financial allocations for CCGs and for the NHS CB for 2013/14. Within this overall funding, the NHS CB has allocated £63.4 billion to CCGs. This represents 2.3% growth compared to the equivalent 2012/13 baselines – a real terms increase of 0.3% at a time of limited resources which, working with local Health and Wellbeing partners, CCGs will use to ensure improved service quality and better health outcomes for their patients and communities.
The NHS CB will commission some services nationally for the first time, improving them by tackling variation in care around the country. These services include specialised healthcare, primary care and services for the military as well as those in prison and offenders with otherwise-reduced liberty. The budget of £25.4 billion set for these services also represents a 2.6 per cent increase over the equivalent activities in 2012/13.
The NHS CB is also initiating a review of the approach to allocations to give the best opportunity to improve outcomes for patients and tackle health inequalities.
Sir David Nicholson, the NHS Commissioning Board’s Chief Executive, said: “The NHS can be justly proud of its achievements. People wait less, they are diagnosed and referred quicker and our hospitals have fewer infections. But everyone in the NHS knows we must continue to improve.
“There are big challenges – not least the financial backdrop – but we must be ambitious. We want to make the NHS the best customer service in the world by doing more to put patients in the driving seat. We are determined to focus on outcomes and the rights people have under the NHS Constitution, as well as ensure those most in need gain most from the support we provide.
“At the heart of our approach is local control over decision making. We want to put power in the hands of clinicians who know their patients best. We want to give them the money, information and tools to do the job. And we want the public to have the information they need to make choices and participate fully in the development of their health services.”
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