The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


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Background to the NHS changes in England

The Health and Social Care Act received royal assent in March 2012: what were the developments that led up to this radical restructuring of the NHS?

The coalition government's reform proposals for the NHS were first published in the White Paper 'Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS' in June 2010. This was quickly followed in January 2011 with the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill.

The CSP raised its deep concerns about the government's health reform agenda by responding to 14 official Government consultations, five Health Select Committee inquiries and to both phases of the NHS Future Forum's 'Listening exercise'.

The CSP also produced nine briefings for MPs and peers and had numerous meetings with parliamentarians from both houses. Our concerns about the reforms were widely covered in the media, with Phil Gray being interviewed on national television and radio news and quoted in most national newspapers.

It is important to acknowledge that, although the Health Bill was passed, the effort secured a number of welcome changes on issues the CSP had been most concerned about, in particular open-market competition and the commissioning process.

In addition to this, the government's attempts to remove the Secretary of State for Health's legal duty to provide a comprehensive health service failed. This responsibility has now been clarified in the legislation. Amendments were also passed that require all providers of NHS funded healthcare, including those operating under the any qualified provider model, to contribute to the education and training of the healthcare workforce.

The CSP will now support and equip members to focus on providing solutions to the new commissioners, demonstrating the positive value that physiotherapy can deliver for patients, society and the NHS.

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