UK/2012 Health and Social Care Act

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Event.png UK/2012 Health and Social Care Act (law) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
DescriptionThe most extensive reorganisation of the structure of the National Health Service in England to date.

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act (c 7) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which provides for the most extensive reorganisation of the structure of the National Health Service in England to date.[1] It removed responsibility for the health of citizens from the Secretary of State for Health, which the post had carried since the inception of the NHS in 1948. It abolished NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and NHS Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and transferred between £60 billion and £80 billion of "commissioning", or health care funds, from the abolished PCTs to several hundred "Clinical Commissioning Groups", partly run by the General Practitioners (GPs) in England but a major point of access for private service providers. A new executive agency of the Department of Health, Public Health England, was established under the Act on 1 April 2013.[2]

The proposals are primarily the result of policies of the then Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Clive Peedell (co-chairman of the NHS Consultants Association and a consultant clinical oncologist) compared the policies with academic analyses of privatisation and found "evidence that privatisation is an inevitable consequence of many of the policies contained in the Health and Social Care Bill".[3] Lansley said that claims that the government is attempting to privatise the NHS are "ludicrous scaremongering".[4]

The proposals contained in the Act are some of the coalition government's most controversial. Although glanced at in the Conservative Party's manifesto in 2010,[5] they were not discussed during the 2010 General Election campaign and were not contained in the ConservativeLiberal Democrat coalition agreement, which mentioned the NHS only to commit the coalition to a real-term funding increase every year.[6] Within two months of the election a White Paper was published, outlining what the Daily Telegraph called the "biggest revolution in the NHS since its foundation".[7] The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 19 January 2011.[8][9] In April 2011 the government announced a "listening exercise", halting the Bill's legislative progress until after the May 2011 local elections. The "listening exercise" finished by the end of that month. The Bill received Royal Assent on 27 March 2012.


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