Health reforms could sink NHS into the red27th April 2011
MPs have warned that the government’s controversial health reforms could harm patient care and plunge the NHS into the red.
Members of the Public Accounts Committee have expressed concern that the reorganisation costs could be higher than Department of Health estimates.
And they fear frontline services could be affected with some trusts going into debt.
PAC chairman Margaret Hodge said: “The Department of Health acknowledged the risks associated with this radical shake-up of the NHS.
“Whilst the reforms could complement the imperative of achieving £20 billion efficiency gains by 2014/15, the reorganisation might also distract those responsible for making the savings while safeguarding standards of patient care.
“Furthermore, if the department’s estimate of the one-off costs associated with reorganisation turns out to have been too low, it will make the challenge of achieving savings for reinvestment even tougher.”
There are further concerns that redundancy costs could be higher than forecast if new GP commissioning boards refuse to take on many managers from primary care trusts.
The estimated cost of the reorganisations is £1.4 billion but that depends on the GP board taking on almost three quarters of current NHS managers.
Christina McAnea, head of health at the public sector union Unison, said: “The NHS and its staff have always adapted to change, but this Bill takes a wrecking ball to the NHS as we know it.”
In response, health secretary Andrew Lansley defended the changes and added: “If we don’t give doctors and nurses the power to make decisions for their patients, then quality of care will suffer.”
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Thursday 28th April 2011 @ 9:23
You can't help wondering what planet some of these MPs are on as anyone who knows what is really going on in their local health ecomony will already be aware that many trusts are in debt!
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Title: Health reforms could sink NHS into the red
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 18321
Date Added: 27th Apr 2011