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'Challenging' NHS reforms a success

'Challenging' NHS reforms a success

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Some parts of the health service were not ready for the reforms, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) claims. 

Released today, the report said that although the transition was successful, some parts of the system “were less ready than others” on 1 April 2013. 

According to NAO, much more needs to be done to complete the transition. The reforms, which cost the government at least £1.1 billion, meant that 170 organisations were closed and more than 240 new bodies were created. 

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA Council said: "The findings of the National Audit Office echo many of the BMA’s concerns about how the NHS reforms were devised and implemented.  

“Introducing radical changes to how the NHS is run and structured during a period of intense financial pressure has been a costly distraction to solving the real challenges facing the health service.” 

The quality of patient care during the reforms was hard to determine, according to the NAO, who said that “limited data” was available to track the quality of primary care. 

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office said it was a “considerable achievement” that the new organisations were ready to start work on 1 April 2013. 

He said: “Some parts of the system were less ready than others, and each organisation now needs to reach a stable footing. 

“This will be particularly challenging at a time when the NHS is having to make significant efficiency savings. The reformed health system is complex and the Department, NHS England and Public Health England must take a lead in helping to knit together the various components, so that the intended benefits for patients are secured.”

At least £2 billion worth of administration costs were saved as a result of the reforms, which caused 10,094 redundancies, with an average payoff of £43,095. 

A full copy of the report is available on the National Audit Office website. 

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