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News - 24 January 2012

Report unfair to NHS, says Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

Andrew Lansley has defended his reorganisation of the NHS, describing a highly critical report by MPs as "out of date" and "unfair" to the health service. He insisted that the NHS was delivering efficiency savings and improvements for patients following a warning from MPs that the overhaul of the NHS is hindering efforts to slash health spending without cutting vital services.

His remarks follow a highly critical report from the Commons Health Select Committee which said hospitals were resorting to short-term "salami slicing" as they try to find £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014/15.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Lansley said delivering improvements in the NHS and efficiency savings required some degree of organisational change.

"I actually think in the NHS it is being very well managed and we are keeping a focus on improving performance," he said.

The MPs said there were strong concerns about the ability of the NHS to make the savings - the equivalent of 4% a year. On the reforms, it concluded they were "complicating" the savings process because they were acting as a "disruption and distraction".

The Commons Health Select Committee is chaired by Conservative former health secretary Stephen Dorrell, who said:
"The priority is to deliver more efficient care, in order to meet demands placed upon the system - and the implementation of the bill has to fit in around that."

The findings have prompted critics to renew their attacks. Last week the Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Nursing said the bill underpinning the changes should be scrapped - joining the British Medical Association in moving to outright opposition.
While the BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the plans will prove harmful to patients.
Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the plans will pose a threat to patient safety and the future of the NHS itself.

Later this week a host of health bodies are meeting to discuss the reforms.
The majority of them are professional bodies that are focused on standards. So if they come out with a strong rejection of the plans it will get even more difficult for ministers.

As always, we at ABDS will keep you informed as the debate goes on.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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