On Monday the Secretary of State for Health published a new NHS White Paper, setting out the coalition Government’s vision for the NHS.
This White Paper is the first step towards the Government’s ambition for the NHS to achieve health outcomes and quality health services that are among the best in the world.
‘Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS’ sets out proposals for the NHS to become a truly world-class service: a service that is easy to access, treats people as individuals and offers care that is safe and of the highest quality.
This vision puts patients at the heart of everything that the NHS, both locally and nationally, does.
This means giving them more choice and the information they need to be able to exercise that choice.
It also means putting GPs in charge of local commissioning decisions and setting providers of health services free from top-down targets.
In order to achieve its vision for the NHS, the Government has proposed changes to the way the NHS is organised.
It plans to create an independent National Commissioning Board for the NHS.
The Board will allocate money to local GP consortia for them to use to commission local health services.
Local authorities will take on responsibility for health improvement, currently held by primary care trusts.
As a result of these changes, the Government expect PCTs, including NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother, to cease to exist from April 2013 in light of the successful establishment of GP consortia.
It is also planned that strategic health authorities will no longer exist from 2012/13.
Mike Wood, Chief Executive of NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother, said:
"PCTs will be phased out in less than three years time.
In the meantime we have important roles to play in supporting the NHS in the county through a period of change.
It is vital that the work already underway with GPs to deliver high quality, sustainable services continues.
We will also need to work closely with GPs to best understand their needs under the new setup and to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible so that patients get the best possible care."