The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is due to announce a new vision for NHS reform, including an increased role for the NHS App and electronic patient record (EPR) targets.

Building on the Health and Care Bill that was formally introduced to parliament in July last year, Sajid Javid is expected to lay out plans which put patient choice and expansion of personalised care at the front and centre.

From April the Health and Social Care Levy will come into action, raising almost £36billion over the next three years for health and social care services, which the government ensures will be used as efficiently as possible as adult social care is reformed and the Covid backlog is tackled.

The next steps for reform are expected to include new policies to modernise the NHS, benefit patients and build on lessons learned during the pandemic focused on avoiding ill-health, enhancing performance and increasing patient choice.

Javid is expected to say: “Those are the long-term challenges the NHS must adapt to: changing demographics and disease; changing technology and expectations; and unsustainable finances.

“Taken together, it’s clear we were always going to come to a crossroads: a point where we must choose between endlessly putting in more and more money, or reforming how we do healthcare.

“There were major challenges before the pandemic. Pressures in social care were rising substantially too. But without the pandemic, the Covid backlogs, an even more stretched workforce and other new pressures, that choice might have been many years down the line. The shock of Covid and the urgent need for recovery has brought us to this crossroads right now.

“I choose reform.”

Some of the measures being considered as part of the NHS reform plan include:

  • Enhancing patients’ right to choose
  • Expanding the number of people benefitting from personalised care
  • Expanding personal health budgets
  • Increasing use of the NHS App to help people manage their health
  • Rolling out electronic records to 90% of trusts by December 2023 and 80% of social care providers by March 2024
  • Raising awareness of the ‘Shared Lives’ scheme

Today’s announcement follows Javid’s online speech at HSJ’s Digital Transformation Summit last month, where he first stated his goal for 90% of NHS Trusts to have an EPR in place by 2023 along with targets for the NHS App.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, added: “As the NHS recovers services and addresses the Covid-19 backlogs that have inevitably built up during the pandemic, these measures will support the work of the NHS Long Term Plan – giving more patients greater choice and control over their own health.

“The pandemic has shown us what can be achieved when we work together across health, social and wider community services and taken with the reforms set out in the Health and Care Bill, these actions will help to ensure patients and their families are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to making decisions about their care.”