§ 81. Dame Jill Knight
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether any initiatives are being taken to promote a better quality of care for patients.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The White Paper reforms aim to provide a better National Health Service with more attention to quality of care and customer service flowing from greater devolution, the separation of purchaser and provider functions and the introduction of contracts, wider choice and the extension of medical and clinical audit. These proposals are being reinforced by a £10 million programme of project-based initiatives to make the consumers' interest more central to the management arid delivery of health care. The Government have also initiated talks with the royal colleges and other statutory bodies with an interest in assessing clinical standards in the National Health Service after implementation of the reforms. Agreement has been reached on the provision of advice and assistance in the assessment and monitoring of clinical standards for all National Health Service patients through a clinical standards advisory group. An amendment to the National Health Service and Community Care Bill has been tabled to provide a statutory basis for the group.