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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


The Government's Health and Social Care Act reforms and the work of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 


March 2012

> Health and Social Care Bill gains Royal Assent and becomes an Act of Parliament

On Tuesday 27 March the Deparment of Health announced that the Bill had gained Royal Assent and became the Health and Social Care Act (2012).

College President Professor Sue Bailey commented on the Health and Social Care Bill completing its passage through Parliament.

> College welcome government commitment to amendment on parity for mental and physical health

Following lobbying from the College and other organisation we welcomed the Government’s decision to support an amendment to the Bill to give the Secretary of State for Health an explicit duty to support both physical and mental health.

The amendment puts the Government’s own commitment to parity of esteem between mental and physical health care on a statutory footing, making it clear that the Secretary of State has a duty to improve the nation’s mental health services and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of both physical and mental health.


February 2012

> Briefing on amendment to ensure joined up social and medical care after being sectioned

Working with other mental health organisations the College produced a briefing for Peers in advance of a debate on the Health and Social Care Bill.

The proposed amendment addresses Clause 39 of the Bill, which covers section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983. This ensures that primary care trusts and local authorities have a duty to work together to provide medical and social care after someone has been sectioned.

Clause 39 of the Bill would have removed this joint duty and there was concern that care decisions would be taken separately, leading to a disjointed care package and endangering an individual’s recovery.

The College welcomed the decision by the government following the debate to agree to the amendment unapposed and retain the joint duty.

> Briefing on amendments to improve commissioning for long term conditions

Along with other organisations representing people living and working with long term, less common conditions, the College is are concerned that the new structures outlined in the Health and Social Care Bill risk undermining commissioning for such groups.

In a briefing to Peers we have supported proposals to introduce two amendments to the Bill to (a) promote collaboration between Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) on commissioning for less common conditions, and (b) detail a specific monitoring role for the NHS Commissioning Board on less common conditions services.

> House of Lords briefing on parity for mental health

The College, working jointly with stakeholders in the mental health sector, produced a briefing focussing on parity of esteem for mental and physical health in advance of a debate on amendments looking at mental health.

Following the news that the House of Lords voted by 244 to 240 in favour of an amendment to place an explicit duty on the Secretary of State to give equal emphasis to mental and physical health, Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "We were delighted this amendment was passed, as we have long campaigned for mental health to be on an equal footing with physical health. However, the College still has major concerns about many aspects of the Bill and believes it will remain fundamentally flawed unless it undergoes further significant revision."

> College surveys members and clarifies its position on the Health and Social Care Bill

As part of its ongoing communication process, the College surveyed all its members for their views on the Health and Social Care Bill in January. The quantative and qualitative results of this survey were published in February and were used to shape a new College statement clarifying its position on the Bill.


January 2012

> NHS Future Forum publishes second report

The second report of the NHS Future Forum was published, outlining recommendations on education and training, public health, integration and information.


December 2011

> RCPsych responds to Health Select Committee inquiry on education, training and workforce planning 

The College outlined key concerns to members of the Health Select Committee as part of the inquiry into education and training.

The submission highlights issues of particular concern to the College, including the urgent need to address the future of Deaneries, and the danger that where Acute Trusts form Local Education and Training Boards there is the possibility that psychiatry could be marginalised.

More about the Health Select Committee inquiry is available on the Parliament UK website.


October 2011

> House of Lords Second Reading Briefing on Health and Social Care Bill

The College, working jointly with stakeholders in the mental health sector, produced a briefing in advance of House of Lords Second Reading of the Health and Social Care Bill

Key concerns included: Integration, parity for mental health, competition, patient and clinician involvement.



June 2011

> Department of Health publishes results of NHS Future Forum Listening Exercise

The Future Forum’s recommendations to government were published following the NHS listening exercise and the government’s response to the Future Forum’s recommendations was published shortly after.


May 2011

> College response to NHS Future Forum Listening Exercise

Key concerns in the College response to the Listening Exercise included: commissioning, integration, medical education and competition.

June 2011

> NHS Future Forum 'Listening Exercise' - Survey of College membership

In April 2011, the Government began its 'Listening Exercise' on the NHS reforms in England.

The 'Listening Exercise' was being organised by the Future Forum, a "group of clinicians, patient representatives voluntary sector representatives and others from the health field, including frontline staff."

In advance of its submission the College carried out a survey of all 9,352 English College members to ask for their views on the proposed reforms.



February 2011

> Health and Social Care Bill:Mental Health Strategy

In Febuary 2011, the Coalition Government published No health without mental health: a cross-Government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages. Through its membership of the Future Visions Coalition, the College has been fully engaged with, and has succeeded in influencing, the strategy throughout the various stages of its development.

> Health and Social Care Bill: Second Reading Briefing

In response to the Coalition Government's Health and Social Care Bill, the College  prepared a briefing in advance of the Commons Second Reading. 

In it, the College outlined concerns about a number of areas including:

  • how the scale and the pace of change may impact on the care and in particular the continuity of care that can be given to patients with mental health problems;
  • that in some areas the new GP consortia will not yet have developed the skills or expertise to support mental health commissioning and that there needs to be engagement of specialist clinicians from the outset;
  • concerns about further roll out of ‘Any Willing Provider’ given current evidence in some mental health services.

Read the full text of the Second Reading Briefing here.

Read the College's submission to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Health and Social Care Bill here. 

December 2010

> Health and Social Care Consultations: Responding to Transparency in Outcomes & Legislative framework and next steps

In December 2010, the Coalition Government published Transparency in Outcomes - a framework for the NHS: Government response to the consultation (which is the formal Government response to the proposals and responses received as part of the consultation Transparency in Outcomes - a framework for the NHS (see below)).

It also published Liberating the NHS: Legislative framework and next steps (also known as 'Command Paper') which is the Government's response to the consultations Local democratic legitimacy in health, Regulating healthcare providers and Commissioning for patients (see below).

The Policy Unit  prepared two documents which summarises these two new documents and highlights what the College said in its original responses.

The Unit has also produced a one-page diagram of the Architecture of the Government’s Health and Social Care reforms (White Papers/Strategies/Bills/Consultations etc.).





July 2010

> Health and Social Care White Paper Responding to Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS

In July 2010, the Coalition Government published a White Paper on the future of the NHS entitled Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. Four consultation papers were published alongside the White Paper:

Read the College's full responses to the four documents here.

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