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The Richmond Group of Charities and 17 other signatories have written to Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, unanimously asking the Government to include a focused NHS Bill in the next Queen’s Speech.

The letter has been signed by National Voices, the NHS Confederation, Healthwatch, the co-chairs of the NHS Assembly, UNISON, NHS Providers, the Local Government Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, NHS Employers, the King’s Fund, the Patients’ Association, the Community Network, the Royal College of General Practitioners, NHS Clinical Commissioners and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Secretary of State,

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AN NHS BILL

We write with unanimous support for a focused NHS Bill within the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

A highly targeted Bill, as recommended by NHS England and Improvement, will help remove barriers that make it hard for NHS organisations to collaborate with each other and their many local partners. This collaboration is essential if the ambitions to improve people’s health and wellbeing set out in the NHS Long Term Plan are to be delivered.

There is strong agreement amongst the people and organisations we represent, across the health, local government and the voluntary and charitable sectors, about what the Bill should seek to achieve. There is no support for another damaging NHS reorganisation which we believe would distract from the important local work being undertaken to bring services together. The Bill should be tightly focused on the issue of care integration to foster collaboration within the sector, including removal of section 75 of the 2012 Act with its unnecessary procurement processes.

Less fragmentation across services and more collaboration will help deliver better care and support for patients and service users. None of us believe that legislation alone will achieve this goal – we need new behaviours and stronger relationships. But we all agree that rapid, targeted, legislative reform would remove some of the obstacles to collaborative working, allowing us to deliver person and community centred health and care that focusses on what matters to people.

This Bill could set an historic precedent and shape future ways of working, with its development heavily influenced by NHS staff, patients and local leaders. The initial proposals have gone through an extended engagement process. The cross-party Health and Social Care Select Committee, through its inquiry and report, has helped to shape an emerging consensus. NHS England and NHS Improvement have subsequently adjusted and improved their proposals, which we welcome.

We ask that you, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement keep working closely work with us, our members and the communities they serve. In that way the Bill will command maximum support prior to its introduction.”

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also published the outcome of their engagement on their proposals for what this law should cover.

You can download the full documents below:

Letter to Secretary of State

NHS's recommendations to Government and Parliament for an NHS Bill