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Reform comes with £20bn price, says report

Andrew Lansley’s reorganisation of the health service could set the NHS back by as much as a year at a cost of £20 billion, a think tank has warned.

Research by Civitas found that the new system would need a significant amount of time to bed in, meaning that the health service will get worse before it gets better.

Under the government’s new plans PCTs and strategic health authorities will be scrapped, and GPs will in effect run frontline care.

As a result around 80% of the NHS budget will be passed on to GPs.

But Civitas said that based on the evidence of past reorganisations the NHS would see a one-year dip in overall performance, laying to waste its hopes of making the £20 billion of efficiency savings needed.

James Gubb director of the health unit at Civitas said: “The NHS is facing the most difficult financial times in its history. Now is not the time for ripping up internal structures yet again on scant evidence base, but for focusing minds on the task ahead and really getting behind the difficult decisions PCTs, as commissioners will have to make.”

Others have also expressed concerns over handing £80 billion to GPs who may not have the skills or the desire to purchase treatments.

Katherine Murphy, director at The Patients Association, commented: “There is no denying these changes are a huge experiment without much hard evidence about how they will work in the NHS on the suggested scale.”


Posted on: 12/07/2010

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