With fewer than nine months to go until April 2022, the time is right for local health and care systems to think about the forthcoming Health and Care Act.
Enacting legislation, the Health and Care Bill 2021, has finally been introduced to Parliament, albeit still subject to the normal Parliamentary to- and fro-ings that precede its passing into law.
At the top level, the Bill ushers in new, considerable – and controversial - powers for the health secretary, such as the ability to amend or abolish existing arm’s length bodies, create new NHS trusts and to intervene in reconfigurations of the health service. Without adequate rural-proofing, such measures may interfere with effective local rural arrangements such as dispensing by GPs, that fall entirely outside the London-centric model.
While politicians tussle with the big issues of the Bill, the local level has its own challenges to deal with, notably, how to build on the system foundations already in place.
Among key questions to consider will include:
For most rural health and care teams, organisational overhaul will need to be managed on top of dealing with future COVID outbreaks and staff absence over the Summer - and that’s before we get round to planning for the pressure of the full-blown flu season ahead.
Dispensing GPs’ role in new Primary Care Networks, part of the Integrated Care Systems proposed by the Health & Care Bill, will be discussed at the DDA 2021 Annual Conference, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 13-14. For more information on the conference, visit: www.dispensingdoctor.org/conference
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