The UK government has published a white paper setting out legislative proposals for a Health and Care Bill.
Many of the proposals are based on the recommendations of the NHS in its long-term plan, but are also grounded in the challenges facing the English health system in the coming years, including:
- Growth in NHS activity (at an average of 3.3% per year). Over the last 9 years the number of A&E attendances has increased by 4.3 million, the number of GP appointments has increased from 222 million to 308 million.
- The growth in social care which saw a 6% increase from 2015 to 2016.
- A growing and ageing population. The population in England is expected to grow by almost 10% over the next 20 years. The number of people aged over 75 is expected to grow by almost 60% – 2.7 million more people.
- The increasing morbidity and complexity of disease. Around 20% of life is spent in poor health, which has increased in recent years and is likely to continue in the future. The proportion of people over 65 with four or more illnesses is set to double by 2035, and about a third of these people have a mental health problem.
- Advances in medical care and technological innovations. With advances in medical care, there are more treatments available, and more conditions can be treated.
- COVID-19 which will continue to cause countless short-, medium- and long term- effects on healthcare in the UK and has shone a spotlight on inequalities.
The project aims to achieve these results:
- Improvements in health outcomes. Life expectancy at birth in the UK is above the OECD average at 81.4. Mortality rates from cardiovascular disease have fallen by 60%. The UK has the 4th lowest adult diabetes prevalence rate among OECD countries.
- Improvements in quality of care. As of 2020, about 94% of general practice practices were rated good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), about 82% for NHS mental health core services and 85% of adult social care providers.
- Safety. The UK is internationally recognised as a world leader in driving the patient safety agenda in health care.
- COVID-19 response. As of 9 February 2021, the UK has vaccinated 12.6 million people. In the early stages of the response, the NHS COVID-19 Data Store was created, which securely collects accurate pandemic data in real time.
- Building infrastructure for the future. In October, the government announced the creation of 40 hospitals.
Those who wish to read the document can do so here.