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On 8 September 2016, the House of Lords will debate the motion “that this House takes note of the impact of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 on the current performance of the National Health Service and its future sustainability”.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 received royal assent on 27 March 2012, with many of its provisions coming into force on 1 April 2013. It introduced significant structural changes to the NHS, including the establishment of clinical commissioning groups, replacing the previous primary care trusts.

Since the passage of the Act, the NHS has continued to see increasing demand in a challenging economic environment. NHS Improvement—a body established on 1 April 2016 by bringing together existing organisations including Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority—has stated that:

Sustained operational and financial challenges continued to affect adversely the performance of the NHS provider sector in 2015/16. Providers faced record high demand and increased cost pressures. Throughout the year, providers worked hard to improve services for patients, reduce costs and maximise resources. Despite these efforts, the sector as a whole continued to underperform against a number of national healthcare standards, and the year-end deficit was almost three times larger than position reported in 2014/15.

On 16 December 2015, the Government established the Sustainability and Transformation Fund (STF), providing £1.8 billion to “help challenged hospitals to achieve financial balance while focusing on changing the way they provide high quality care for patients”.

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