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The new NHS Mandate FAQs

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith

14th November 2012 - The government has announced its first ever mandate to the NHS. Ministers say it is a central strand in improving the quality of people’s experience of the NHS in England. What is a mandate, what might it deliver and how? Read our FAQs.

What is the NHS Mandate?

The Mandate is part of the government's NHS reforms and is a document setting out priorities for the health service in England over the next two years.

The 28 page brief will be issued to the NHS Commissioning Board - the new independent body which will be responsible from April 2013 for for ensuring that patients get the best possible care and treatment.

The Mandate has been drawn up following consultation with the public, health professionals and key organisations in the health system between July and September 2012. The ambition is that the NHS will be measured, for the first time, by how well it achieves the things that really matter to people.

What does the Mandate say?

The Mandate recognises that the NHS must find ways to meet patients' needs and expectations as demand for health services increase.

It calls for quality of care to be central and for a clear requirement for the health service to treat every patient with dignity and respect. Also, the best quality care must be available no matter where people live in England.

Launching the Mandate, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says in a statement: "We do not want an NHS that focuses on narrow performance indicators but instead looks at true measures of whether all of us are receiving the highest quality of care.

"By focusing on what matters to patients, and giving doctors and other health professionals the freedom to deliver, we will make sure the NHS stays relevant to our needs and ensure this country’s proudest creation remains its finest."

The Mandate sets out five in health and care areas where it wants to see improvements. These are:

  • Helping people live longer
  • Helping people manage their ongoing physical and mental health conditions
  • Helping people recover from episodes of ill-health or injury
  • Making sure people experience better care
  • Providing safe care

Helping people live longer

The Mandate sets out the government's ambition for England to become one of the most successful countries in Europe at preventing premature deaths.

It wants the NHS to focus more on helping people to stay in good health, support earlier diagnosis of illness, and make sure that everyone has access to the best available care. It also wants the NHS to publish outcomes online from 2015 so that patients can see how hospitals are doing.

Helping people manage their conditions

People should have the tools to better manage their own physical and mental conditions. It wants:

  • Patients with long-term conditions to have the choice of a personalised care plan
  • Every patient to be able to book a GP appointment online, order a repeat prescription online and talk to their surgery using secure electronic communication, with the option of e-consultations becoming much more widely available
  • Every patient to be able to read their own health records online and for those records to be able to follow them around the NHS
  • Improvements to the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia and greater understanding of the disease in the NHS

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