Charity enters the Health Bill debate

Three amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill proposed by the Charity were debated in the House of Lords this week.

Two of the amendments, tabled and introduced in the House by Baroness Royall, sought to ensure patients have guaranteed access to clinical specialist nurses. Several other Peers spoke in support of specialist nurses in the debate.  You can read the full text of Baroness Royall's speech here.

We are pleased that Earl Howe, the Health Quality Minister, acknowledged the important contribution that specialist nurses make to patient care in his response.

The Charity's third amendment asked the Government to commit to developing quality standards within six months of the Health Bill becoming law. Quality standards are important guidelines that set out what quality care should look like and help commissioners check that they are organising the services that people want and need.

We were disappointed that Earl Howe stated that it would take five years to develop the full set of quality standards. We feel that this is too long to wait. We know from prostate cancer guidelines, that when national guidelines are delayed, it has an impact on the quality of care people receive. We do not want this to happen.

Over the coming week we will be looking at this issue in detail to consider how we can further highlight the importance of having these national standards, especially as more decisions about healthcare will be made locally.

If you'd like to read more about or work on quality care, please visit: www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/qualitycare.