Former UK health secretary blasts NHS reforms

The Government’s plans to reform the NHS have been severely criticised by a former Tory health secretary.

Stephen Dorrell said significant changes to the proposals were needed to safeguard the NHS.

The House of Commons Health Select Committee, which he chairs, has published a report into the reforms.

It warns against giving control of £80bn a year of public money to GPs and says hospital doctors and nurses should also have a say in how cash is spent on patient care.

The report outlines a series of measures to ensure proper governance and greater accountability in a modernised health service.

“I do accept this is not minor tweaking,” Mr Dorrell said.

Mounting criticism to the plans on Monday forced the current health secretary Andrew Lansley to delay the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill through Parliament.

He told the Commons the government would listen to the criticisms and hinted that concessions would be made.

Several medical bodies, unions and MPs have warned that the reforms are happening too quickly when the NHS is already struggling to make £20bn in efficiency savings.

There have also been concerns that the increasing role for private providers could lead to hospital closures.

Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the report.

She said: “GPs are highly qualified but are on the whole generalists.

“To commission services effectively and appropriately they will need the expertise and input of people who know their particular field.”

The Department of Health said 87% of the population now have their care commissioned by a GP doing a ‘dry-run’ of the reforms.

A spokesman said: “We are making progress on our proposals.

“We are working with GP consortia pathfinders, professional and patient organisations and other stakeholders to develop the new arrangements for commissioning and will consider the recommendations of the committee carefully.”

Source: Sky News

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