The Health Service Journal reports that Number 10 insists Integrated Care Systems will go ahead in April 2022, even though the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has written to the prime minister proposing the Bill be delayed to put it “in the best possible shape”.
Controversial measures that include giving the health secretary more powers to direct the NHS are expected to be included when the Bill enters the House of Commons. It is due to be published next week, with the second reading expected to take place before the summer break.
According to the Health Service Journal,
“A well-placed source said that the most controversial measures in the bill (to give the health secretary more powers to direct NHS England and other NHS bodies, and to intervene in service reconfigurations) would remain in
place when it is introduced in coming days; although they could potentially be amended by government later. Some have called for them to be removed, which could give the legislation a smoother passage through Parliament.”
Apparently Mr Javid’s letter to the prime minister raised concerns about a
“huge bill with a scope that extends beyond the NHS into all aspects of health and care”.
As well as opening the NHS to the kind of corrupt contracting that has occurred under the Covid emergency regulations by removing competition and procurement rules, under Mr Hancock the Bill was expected to include controversial measures on data sharing.
The Health Service Journal piece quoted a DHSC spokesman, who was apparently briefing against the new Health Secretary:
“Our health and care bill builds on the NHS’ own proposals for reform and [will create an NHS] which is less bureaucratic, more accountable, and more integrated in the wake of the pandemic.
“Our proposals will give the NHS more power, not less and maintain the NHS’s clinical and operational independence while ensuring the Secretary of State has appropriate oversight and accountability.”