The government’s NHS mandate has been updated in response to the Francis report and the vulnerable older people plan.
The mandate for 2014/15 also reflects current work around integrated care, helping to address the failings seen at Winterbourne View private hospital.
NHS England should ensure that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) work with local authorities to ensure vulnerable people receive safe, high quality care.
The ‘friends and family’ test will be introduced for or women who have used maternity services from October 2013, for general practice and community and mental health services by the end of December 2014 and for the rest of NHS funded services by the end of March 2015.
The main areas of the mandate are:
1. Preventing people from dying prematurely
2. Enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
3. Helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
4. Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
5. Treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.
Sir Malcolm Grant, NHS England chair “welcomed” the refreshed mandate.
He said: “The new healthcare commissioning system has only been in place for seven months, yet real progress has been already made under challenging circumstances. Commissioners are making full use of the newly conferred flexibility to respond to local need, especially for older people with long-term conditions.
“Many are developing tailored schemes to identify and treat undiagnosed illnesses, working directly in partnership with local authorities to ensure health and social care services are organised around patient needs.”
Matt Tee, chief operating officer of the NHS Confederation, said: "The NHS has some of its strongest leaders in patients, and the clinicians and managers who deliver their care, so we welcome the refreshed mandate's focus on strengthening local autonomy, so that NHS organisations are free to innovate and develop new ways of working that drive improvements in patient care.
"The refreshed mandate also tasks NHS England with using its unique position to "shine a light" on variations in care and to foster a revolution in transparency. We look forward to the government's full response to the Francis report due out soon for more detail about what the government will be doing to support this."