Additional safeguards put in place to protect patients

Consultation on patient safety
Published on Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:32
Posted by Scott Buckler

A consultation on new measures that will protect the services that patients need was launched today

The Health Special Administration consultation published today sets out how safeguards to protect the services that patients need will be extended to NHS services provided by social enterprises and other companies.

For the first time, the services these organisations provide will be secured if they become insolvent. This will ensure that, regardless of the type of provider, patients will receive an uninterrupted service they can rely on.

Under the Health and Social Care Act, Monitor, the financial regulator of the NHS, will be able to put independent providers of NHS services through rigorous checks to ensure they are able to remain financially stable. As a last resort, Monitor will be able to seek the appointment of a health special administrator, who will take control of the company, working with local health professionals so that service can continue.

Currently if a company that provides NHS healthcare becomes insolvent and can no longer provide services, there are few safeguards in place to ensure that patients can still access those services.

Health Minister Lord Howe said:

"Charities, social enterprises and independent providers play an important part in providing NHS care. They can help give patients more choice of where and how they are treated by the health service.  It is vital that however patients are treated in the health service they receive a high quality service that they can rely on.

"The Health Special Administration procedure will only be used as a last resort when all other options have been explored. But it is an important step to ensure that regardless of how services are provided, we always meet the needs of our patients.  It is vital that everyone in the health service looks at the consultation and feeds in their opinions so we can get this right."

The consultation published today will run until 4 January. The Department will publish the response to the consultation early in the new year.

Source: ©DH

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