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NHS shake-up - one of the biggest in its history

White Paper - Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS

10 August 2010

NHS Shake-Up

In July this year the government announced plans for a major shake-up of the NHS, one of the biggest in its history.

The plans are laid out in a White Paper, called Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. The White Paper sets out a vision for transforming health and social care and it focuses on four key areas:

1. Putting patients and the public first

2. Improving healthcare outcomes

3. Autonomy, accountability and democratic legitimacy

4. Cutting bureaucracy and improving efficiency

Within the White Paper is the proposal to create local groups of GP practices who will be in charge of commissioning services, a role currently carried out by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). One of the principal aims of this proposal is to make decisions more responsive to the needs and wishes of patients and the public. 

The Future of LINks

The White Paper also talks about strengthening the public voice by establishing HealthWatch, an independent champion for health and social care. LINks (Local Involvement Networks) will become local HealthWatch, and they are expected to be up and running by 2012.

Local HealthWatch will build on the current role of LINks and they will become a ‘citizen’s advice bureau’ for health and social care, with greater powers and a national voice.

Under current proposals, HealthWatch England will be set up as an independent arm of the Care Quality Commission (the Regulator for health and social care services in England) with a specific remit to represent at a national level people using health and social care services.  This will give people a real influence over the way services are planned and delivered.  

See below for a summary of the White Paper, a link to the Department of Health website to access the full White Paper and more, an easy read leaflet about the changes to the NHS and a copy of the document Establishing HealthWatch (explaining the changes to LINks).


The White Paper consultation period will finish on 5th October 2010.

If you have any comments to make regarding any of the changes you can contact the Department of Health White Paper Team

by email:

or post: White Paper Team, Room 601, Department of Health, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS

There are regional public events to discuss the LINks / HealthWatch change. If you are interested in attending one of these meetings please contact us for more information or contact your local LINks office directly. Thank you.

If you require any of these documents in another format please contact us


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