The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (c 7) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the most extensive reorganisation of the structure of the National Health Service in England to date. It proposes to abolish NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). Thereafter, £60 to £80 billion of "commissioning", or health care funds, will be transferred from the abolished PCTs to several hundred "clinical commissioning groups", partly run by the general practitioners (GPs) in England. A new executive agency of the Department of Health, Public Health England, is planned to be established on 1 April 2013.
The proposals are primarily the result of policies of the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley. Writing in the BMJ, Clive Peedell (co-chairman of the NHS Consultants Association and a consultant clinical oncologist) compared the policies with academic analyses of privatisation and found "evidence that privatisation is an inevitable consequence of many of the policies contained in the Health and Social Care Bill." Lansley says that claims that the government is attempting to privatise the NHS are "ludicrous scaremongering".
The proposals contained in the Act are some of the coalition government's most controversial. Although many measures were included in the Conservative Manifesto, they were not discussed during the 2010 general election campaign and were not contained in the 11 May 2010 Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition agreement, which mentioned the NHS only to commit to a real-term funding increase every year. Within two months of the election a white paper was published, outlining what the Daily Telegraph called the "biggest revolution in the NHS since its foundation". The bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 19 January 2011. In April 2011 the government announced a "listening exercise", halting the Bill's legislative progress until after the May local elections....
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