Giving the Health Secretary more power over the NHS risks taking health care backwards Health Foundation response to the publication of the Health and Care Bill

6 July 2021

Responding to the publication today of the Health and Care Bill, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said:

‘This is a Bill of two parts. Provisions to boost integrated care have widespread support and could help improve care for patients, although the potential benefits of these changes should not be oversold. The part of the Bill giving the Secretary of State more power over the NHS is politically driven, has no clear rationale and risks taking health care backwards.

‘To ease the Bill’s passing, the new Secretary of State for Health should now drop the contentious proposals to give his role more power over the day-to-day running of the NHS. He should add his own stamp to the Bill by adding simple but much needed provisions to improve workforce planning across the NHS and social care. This would help to ensure that staffing shortages in the NHS, which are slowing progress on the backlog, are addressed.

‘In the aftermath of the pandemic, the country faces a major backlog of unmet health care needs, chronic shortfalls in the NHS and social care workforce, glaring health inequalities, and a social care system on its knees. The Bill published today will do little to address these fundamental challenges without wider policy action and investment from government.’ 

Media contact

Simon Perry
020 7257 2093

Further reading


The NHS Bill must put in place a system to support better workforce planning

14 April 2021

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