Safety and Quality Bill

Today is the second reading of the Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Bill in the House, led by Jeremy Lefroy MP, to which I am responding on behalf of the Government as Minister for Life Sciences.
It is a privilege to do so because the Bill had its first iteration in my own Ten Minute Rule Bill on patient empowerment introduced to the House last year.
My original Ten Minute Rule Bill set out what 21st-century healthcare will look like and how we need to prepare for it, containing specific measures that would help build trust:
  • The principle that patient records belong to patients
  • That patients should have the free right of access
  • That the NHS, GPs, hospitals and the care sector have a duty to keep our records up to date
  • That we should make it easier for patients to use their EPRs to enrol in clinical research work with patient groups, track care pathways, access health outcomes data on local NHS services and plug into a growing number of health apps
  • The original Bill had the support of over 75 medical research charities as well as several leading clinicians. I also started the cross-party campaign group Patients4Data alongside the Bill to highlight the importance of patient data in empowering patients, driving transparency and transforming the research landscape.
During the Private Members’ Ballot, Jeremy Lefroy MP was selected and agreed to adopt elements of the Bill around the NHS identifier number and shape it around his own unique perspective as a constituency MP for Staffordshire where the terrible events of the Mid-Staffs crisis happened.
We worked on the new Safety and Quality Bill together with officials from the Department of Health for the months leading up to the Government reshuffle in July, where I was appointed the first ever Minister for Life Sciences. In that capacity I am now responsible for responding to it on behalf of the Government, delighted to welcome its central measures: requiring a single identifier (for instance your NHS number) for all health and social care services, and increasing the Care Quality Commission's responsibility for looking at patient safety from a 'power' to a 'duty' means that the CQC must ensure that hospitals and all other healthcare providers it inspects work safely for patients.
As I said when I launched my original Ten Minute Rule Bill, this revolution in patient empowerment – through apps, access to your own patient record and greater transparency – is driving a new dawn of 21st century medicine. It is a privilege to welcome a Bill that seeks to embrace this new world in the House today.




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George Freeman in Westminster


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