Every year the Department of Health (DH) publishes a mandate for NHS England. The mandate exists to set objectives for NHS England and ensures that the NHS is accountable to Parliament and the public.The DH has been consulting on the mandate for 2016-2017.
In our response to the consultation we argue that the new mandate is an opportunity to align government policy with the real world activities of NHS England. We explain how explicit reference to policy priorities, such as the implementation of the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases, as objectives in the annual mandate can substantially increase the likelihood of achieving progress in these areas.
The mandate acknowledges certain ‘health gaps’ for some patient groups such as those living with dementia, or people with learning disabilities, and makes them the target of improvements. Patients with rare conditions often struggle to gain access to the treatment and support that they need, due to the rarity of their condition. In our response we argue that the rare disease patient community should be added to the list of patient groups experiencing disparities in health outcomes.