Health and Social Care Act 2012

The Health and Social Care Bill has completed its passage through parliament and is now the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

National Voices is proud that, working with its members and allies, it persuaded the government to strengthen key parts of the legislation relating to patient and public voice, accountability and transparency; and to place a new emphasis on securing integrated care into the duties of the new health organisations.

Patient involvement duties

A key change came late in the Bill when, following a campaign by National Voices and the Health Foundation the government agreed to amend for a second time the duties for commissioners to secure the involvement of 'each patient' in their care and treatment.

We regard these changes as very significant -- the most direct reference in the Act to the vision of 'no decision about us, without us', and one which if followed through may make the biggest difference to the quality of services as experienced by patients.

A briefing on the meaning and significance of these new clauses can be downloaded here.

43 National Voices' members signed a letter published in The Times on this issue in January 2012.

Statutory duty of candour

We were not successful in persuading the government to establish in law the right of patients to be told when something has gone wrong with their care, though we gathered signifcant support in the House of Lords.

We wait to see whether this issue is raised again during the forthcoming review of the NHS Constitution or by the report of the Francis Inquiry.


The below links provide more detail of the briefings and interventions made by National Voices and its partners during the passage of the Bill. 

Duty of candour in the Lords 

Amendment 17 tabled by B Masham of Ilton and signed by B Wheeler for Labour, B Tyler for the Lib Dems, and L Harris of Haringey.

A joint briefing that National Voices produced with AvMA and NALM.

letter published in the Daily Telegraph, signed by ten other patient safety organisations. 

Commissioners take advice from expert patients 

Amendments 59 and 101 tabled by B Young of Old Scone.

Lords Committee

28th November: Lord Warner's amendment to define patient involvement was debated in Lords Committee. The Hansard transcript can be found here. Government said it was sympathetic and would keep listening.

7th November: Baroness Masham's amendment for a statutory duty of candour was debated. he Hansard transcript can be found here.

Joint briefing (October 2011) with the Health Foundation on patient involvement.

Joint briefing (October 2011) with AvMA and NALM on a statutory duty of candour.

A briefing paper (October 2011) produced by National Voices for Lords Second Reading

Commons stages

For the Commons stages of the Bill National Voices campaigned with a coalition of ten national charities to improve provision for patient and public involvement, and better governance and transparency in the NHS.

The campaign kicked off with a letter to The Times in February 2011.

Chief Executive, Jeremy Taylor, played an influential role in the NHS Future Forum, the independent panel that conducted the government's 'listening exercise' while the Bill was paused in spring 2011.

Subsequent government amendments delivered many of the changes for which our coalition originally asked, including:

  • strengthening the patient involvement duty
  • retaining clinical networks
  • widening the range of clinicians involved in commissioning
  • providing proper governance for clinical commissioning groups, and
  • including lay members on CCG governing bodies.

Submission to the NHS Future Forum

9 big shouts - May 2011    

Evidence to the Public Bill Committee

National Voices second memorandum - 4th July 2011

Charity coalition second oral evidence transcript - 28th June 2011

National Voices first oral evidence transcript and video - 10th February 2011

National Voices first memorandum - 7th February 2011

Charity coalition parliamentary briefing - February 2011

Letter to The Times as published - 8th February 2011

The charity coalition on the Bill included: Age UK, Alzheimer's Society, Asthma UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, National Voices, The Neurological Alliance, Rethink and the Stroke Association.

Bill links

Parliament's Health and Social Care Bill page has links to all relevant documents and debate transcripts.