Pace of NHS Reform may cause ‘brain drain’

The Health Select Committee report said that “While such a ‘surprise’ approach is not necessarily wrong, it does increase the level of risk involved in policy implementation. It allows less time to understand complexity and detail, and less time to develop and explain policy; and it leads to less understanding of objectives by staff, patients and local communities. A successful ‘surprise’ strategy requires clarity and planning, but the committee does not think that the white paper reflected these qualities. There appears to have been insufficient detail about methods and structures during the transitional phase.”

The reforms are due to take place at a time when the National Health Service (NHS) is expected to achieve £20 Billion in efficiency savings. The Chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee went on to say that “Like the Health Committee, the BMA believes that clinically-led commissioning has the potential to improve both the efficiency of the health service and the care provided to patients. However, we too are very concerned about the scale and pace of these reforms, coming as they do when the National Health Service also has to find up to £20 billion in efficiency savings. The speed of the reforms means Primary Care Trusts are imploding as staff leave in droves, and those managers who are left are focused on delivering the reforms rather than efficiency savings and the maintenance of patient care.”

NHS Reform Plans

  • All 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) abolished
  • All 152 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) abolished
  • General Practitioners (GPs) given responsibility for managing hospital, mental health & community services
  • Patients given more performance related information by a new body called HealthWatch
  • Patients given control of their Medical Records
  • All NHS Trusts achieve Foundation Status by 2013

The abolition of Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts will affect more than 60,000 managers and in their place hundreds of GP consortiums will be created and given the responsibility for much of the £105bn health budget. The bottom up rather than top down reorganisation has been called ‘the most radical change in NHS history’.

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