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17-01-2011 | General practice | Article

MPs criticise ‘surprise’ reforms


Parliamentary Health Select Committee – Third Report: Commissioning

MPs have published a scathing report on the government's commissioning plans, warning that the NHS is ill prepared to implement the reforms while having to cope with a real-terms cut in spending.

The Commons Health Select Committee says that the decision to abolish Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities represented a major policy shift that "came as a surprise to most observers".

This has created uncertainty among managers and consequently increased the risks and costs associated with delivering efficiency savings, the report concludes.

The Committee outlines several key policy issues that it says must be addressed in the Health and Social Care Bill, due to be published tomorrow.

Commenting on the report Dr Laurence Buckman, Chairman of the BMA's GPs Committee, said: "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 NHS also has to find up to £20 billion in efficiency savings. The speed of the reforms means PCTs 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."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price