The Government’s response to its consultation on proposals for greater patient involvement and more choice has been published. For the first time, people who use mental health services will get more choice about where and how they get their condition treated by the NHS.
The response to the ‘Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me’ consultation outlines how patients will be able to choose from any provider in England when they are first referred to see a specialist in secondary care.
In addition, the response outlines plans more broadly to increase patient involvement in decisions about their care and treatment and to increase patient choice. It sets out the next steps to be taken to make ‘no decision about me, without me’ a reality in the NHS, including:
- a proposed pledge for the NHS Constitution to promote individual care plans, which will act as a written agreement between patients and their GP on what decisions were made about their care. Patients will be able to hold their doctor to account if they don’t receive the care they agreed to
- introduction of a NHS Choice Framework, which sets out clearly for patients the different choices they have around their care, including choosing GP practice, choosing where to go for first appointment as an outpatient and a choice of consultant who will be in charge of their treatment.
Also published today is a digital map and list of organisations that will be providing NHS community services locally and what services they will offer to local patients. The Government’s Mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board makes clear the commitment to giving mental health equal importance with physical health, in all relevant aspects of the NHS. Giving people more choice over who provides their mental health care is a step towards this.