New blueprint puts dementia and better care at heart of NHS

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 14 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7747
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The government has set out the course it expects England’s NHS Commissioning Board to follow for the next two years. Better care rather than simply better treatments, a focus on mental health and dementia, preventing premature death from the biggest killers, and ushering general practice into the online era are the highlights of the first NHS mandate, published on 13 November.

Under the government’s changes to the NHS in England, the board has been given responsibility to deliver care, together with a budget of £95.6bn (€120bn; $152bn) for 2013-14 with which to pay for it. The mandate is the government’s set of requirements against which the board’s performance will be judged. The first mandate will run until April 2014, covering the first full year of the board’s operation; thereafter it will be renewed annually.

The final version of the mandate is shorter and focuses on fewer objectives than the draft that was circulated for discussion in July, which included 60 outcome measures, some very precisely defined.1 The board showed scant enthusiasm for such a detailed list of instructions—its chairman, Malcolm Grant, saying …

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