Cameron comments on changes to the NHS

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Prime Minister David Cameron has defended NHS reform plans. He said that the need for change was ‘unavoidable and urgent’. However, various NHS specialists have voiced a range of concerns about the government’s Health Bill outlining reforms to the NHS. In response to the proposed legislation many primary care trusts feel that Andrew Lansley’s changes to the NHS will cause a division of organisations which could put service users at risk. It is claimed that it will be more difficult for organisations to exchange information about sensitive or complicated cases and safeguarding arrangements may be unsatisfactory.

As a result of risk assessments carried out by Primary Care Trusts, some PCT’s feel that the NHS may become too focused on internal structures instead of focusing on improving care quality. In particular North Yorkshire and York PCT fears that the organisational changes may lead to poor staff morale and an increase in absenteeism.

This week the Health and Social Care Bill is entering the report stage, one of the final parliamentary stages before royal assent. When the Bill is approved the Care Quality Commission will be given increased powers. There is also a fear that service providers may not be able to meet the NHS’s £20bn savings drive.

As the health and social care sector approaches this period of restructuring and reorganisation the Department of Health confirms that there are departmental risk registers in place which will act as a tool to identify and prepare for risks involved in the Health Bill and the various changes to the system.

Last week, the British Medical Association said that the Health and Social Care Bill was complex, disjointed and difficult to implement effectively due to the resistance from NHS organisations. There is the fear that increased competition within the sector could lead to patient care becoming disjointed and could damage the system.

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