Published today, the Care Bill introduces legislation to provide protection and support to the people who need it most and to take forward elements of the government’s initial response to the Francis Inquiry.
The Care Bill will give people peace of mind that they will be treated with compassion when in hospital, care homes or their own home.
The Bill is split into 3 parts.
Reform of care and support
The Bill brings together existing care and support legislation into a new, modern set of laws and builds the system around people’s wellbeing, needs and goals.
It sets out new rights for carers, emphasises the need to prevent and reduce care and support needs, and introduces a national eligibility threshold for care and support.
It introduces a cap on the costs that people will have to pay for care and sets out a universal deferred payment scheme so that people will not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care.
Response to the Francis Inquiry on failings at Mid-Staffordshire Hospital
The Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry led by Robert Francis QC, identified failures across the health and care system that must never happen again. This Bill helps deliver the Government’s commitment to ensure patients are the first and foremost consideration of the system and everyone who works in it.
It sets out Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and care homes so that patients and the public can compare organisations or services in a fair and balanced way and make informed choices about where to go.
It will enable the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, appointed by the Care Quality Commission, to trigger a process to deal with unresolved problems with the quality of care more effectively.
It will also make it a criminal offence for health and care providers to supply or publish false or misleading information.
Health Education England and the Health Research Authority
The Bill establishes Health Education England (HEE) and the Health Research Authority (HRA) as statutory non-departmental public bodies, giving them the impartiality and stability they need to carry out their roles in improving education and training for healthcare professionals, and protecting the interests of people in health and social care research.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:
We have swiftly brought in measures to address the findings of Robert Francis’ report that will improve care and mean that patients will be treated with more compassion and respect. I strongly believe that Ofsted-style ratings, improved training for staff and making quality as important as finance will improve NHS care.
These changes go hand in hand with our epic changes to care legislation that will mean, for the first time, people will not have to fear losing their homes in their lifetime to pay care home fees and everyone with a care plan will be able to have a personal budget to choose how they are cared for.
Importantly, if someone has help to pay for care in the south but wants to move to the north to be closer to their family, they will be able to do so without fear of losing their care.
Care Services Minister Norman Lamb said:
For the first time in a generation we are addressing the pressing need to support people when they reach crisis point and need help most. People will finally be able to plan for their later years and not have to fear being saddled with catastrophic costs to pay for care.
This, coupled with the new national eligibility criteria, security that our care is not lost if we move to a different part of the country and giving everyone who is eligible access to a personal budget, will greatly improve the outlook for later life.
The Bill will bring about many of the improvements to the care system described in the government’s Caring For Our Future White Paper published last year.
It is being introduced following extensive consultation with people and organisations right across health and care – from users of services to providers of care. The Care Bill Explained describes the changes that have been made in response to the public consultation and the recommendations of the Joint Committee that carried out pre-legislative scrutiny on the Draft Care and Support Bill.
For more information on the Care Bill, you can view the factsheets. You can also view information on the parliamentary process following the introduction and publication of the Care Bill and the accompanying impact assessments.