New NHS measures and initiatives in effect from 1 April 2015


Several new requirements, standards, schemes and programmes for health and care organisations take effect from 1 April. 

Here's an overview of what they are and links to further information and guidance. They cover:

Care Act 2014

The Care Act provides an updated legal framework for care and support, and introduces a number of new rights, responsibilities and processes.

Guidance: Statutory guidance can be found on the Department of Health website.


Fundamental standards

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) fundamental standards are the levels of quality below which care must never fall. They cover person-centred care, dignity and respect, consent, safety, safeguarding from abuse, food and drink, premises and equipment, complaints, good governance, staffing, fit and proper staff, duty of candour and display of ratings. 

The standards apply to all health and care providers registered with the CQC, though some (the fit and proper persons test for directors and duty of candour) were introduced to NHS bodies in November 2014.

Guidance: Comprehensive guidance and information can be found on the CQC website.

Fit and proper persons

Directors of all CQC-registered providers must meet a fit and proper person test -- the CQC will be able to insist on the removal of directors that fail it. The regulation was introduced to NHS trusts, foundation trusts and special health authorities in November 2014, but is now applicable to all health and care providers registered with the regulator.

Guidance: View our guidance, produced with NHS Providers, and find out more on the CQC website

Duty of Candour

The statutory provision for a duty of candour requires organisations to tell patients when they have suffered harm due to the care they have received. This applies to all CQC-registered organisations and was rolled out to NHS bodies in November 2014. 

Guidance: Find out more on the CQC website.

Criminal offences of wilful neglect and ill treatment

The Government has put in place two new criminal offences of ill treatment and wilful neglect: one offence will apply to individual care workers providing care as part of their paid work, and the other will apply to care provider organisations.

Information: Find out more in Culture change in the NHS: Applying the lessons from the Francis inquiries.

CQC ratings

CQC-registered providers must now display their CQC rating on their websites and across premises, public entrances and waiting areas.

Guidance: Guidance on displaying ratings can be found on the CQC website. View our consultation response on the measure, outlining members' views.

The first ever NHS waiting time standards for mental health comes into effect, which will see most patients needing talking therapies guaranteed treatment in as little as six weeks, with a maximum wait of 18 weeks.

Improvements towards meeting the standard come into effect today for achievement by 1 April 2016.

Information: Find out more on the NHS England website and our Mental Health Network's news article.

Mental Health Act

The revised code of practice for the Mental Health Act 1983 outlines how professionals should carry out their roles and responsibilities under the Mental Health Act 1983, to ensure that all patients receive high quality and safe care.

Information: Find out more on our Mental Health Network's news section.


Personal health budgets

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will to start to offer people with ongoing care needs control of personal health budgets, or combined personal budgets for health and social care.

Information: Download Personal budgets in mental health: key points on implementation, our latest briefing on personal budgets produced in partnership with Think Local Act Personal (TLAP). You can also find out more on the NHS England website.


GP services

Over 70 per cent of CCGs will take on greater commissioning responsibility for GP services.

Information: Find out more on the NHS England website.

Wheelchair services

CCGs will need to complete a new mandatory data collection on wheelchair services. The aim is to develop a full picture of both the demand for wheelchair services and the experience that people have.

Guidance: Head to the NHS England website for more information.


Better Care Fund implementation

Implementation of local Better Care Fund (BCF) plans formally begins, enacting plans for better joint working between health and care services devised last year.

Information: Find out more on the NHS England website.

Personal commissioning 

The first wave of the Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme kicks off, providing some 10,000 people with complex needs with greater power to decide how their own combined health and social care budget is spent.

Information: Find out more on the NHS England website.

‘Devo Manc’ 

The Greater Manchester partnership will start to oversee a £6 billion budget with which to commission health and social care services.

Information: Find out more on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website and let us know your views on the pioneering partnership.


New NHS pension scheme

New pension arrangements for NHS staff come into effect, ushering in different features to the 1995/2008 Pension Scheme.

Guidance: The NHS Employers organisation's website has all the information you need.

New care certificate

All new healthcare assistants and social care support workers will be expected to achieve a Care Certificate within 12 weeks of employment.

Guidance: Find out more on the NHS Employers website.

Race equality standard

Through a nine-point Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) metric, all NHS organisations will be required to demonstrate how they are addressing race equality issues in a range of staffing areas.

Guidance: Find out more on the NHS Employers website.

AfC pay scales

The latest pay scales for Agenda for Change (AfC) come into force.

Information: NHS Employers has produced a chart and FAQs.

HEE mandate

The Government's mandate to Health Education England (HEE) sets out the priorities for the organisation from April 2015 to March 2016.

Information: Find out more on the Department of Health website.

General practice

Accountable GPs for the over-75s

All GP practices are required to allocate a named, accountable GP to all patients aged 75 and over.

Information and guidance: Find out about the impact on general medical services contracts on the NHS Employers website.

New models of care


The 29 vanguards sites pioneering new models of care will develop local health and care services to keep people well, and bring home care, mental health and community nursing, GP services and hospitals together.

Information: Find out more on the NHS England website and view the list of NHS Confederation members involved in the cohort.

Patient feedback

Friends and family test

The friends and family test will be expanded to dental practices, ambulance services, patient transport services, acute hospital outpatients and day cases.

Information: Find out more on the NHS England website.

Finance and the payment system

Enhanced tariff option

The enhanced tariff option (ETO) comes into effect for those providers who voluntarily chose it in March. The 2015/16 national tariff is yet to be finalised.

Guidance: Helpful guidance on the ETO can be found on the NHS England website. You can also view our slide pack on the 2015/16 national tariff for further details on arrangements for 2015/16.

GMS contract changes

Further to negotiations between NHS Employers (on behalf of NHS England) and the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee (GPC) in 2014, amendments will apply to general medical services (GMS) contractual arrangements in England from April 2015. 

Information and guidance: Head to the NHS Employers website for everything you need to know.

VAT exemption

VAT exemption for air ambulances to take effect, as announced in the March Budget.

Information: Find out more on the Treasury's website.

NHS charges

April ushers in changes to charges for NHS prescriptions, dental charges, elastic stockings and tights, wigs and fabric supports and optical voucher values.

Information: Find out more on the Department of Health website.


The Government's mandate to NHS England for 2015/16 comes into force. The mandate sets out what the Government expects the NHS to do by March 2016.

Information: Find out more on the Department of Health website.

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