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Ministers look to save NHS reforms


28 April 2011

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Ministers are hoping to rescue controversial NHS reforms after MPs accused them of having "no control" over many of the costs associated with the shake-up.

The Public Accounts Committee also warned in a report that patient care could be at risk by trying to push through changes while seeking £20bn in efficiency savings.

The divisive proposals are already threatening to drive a wedge between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition. Norman Lamb, one of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's closest advisers, has already indicated that he could quit unless the implementation of the package is delayed.

Mr Clegg (pictured) will meet patients on Wednesday to discuss their concerns over the changes, which would put groups of GPs in charge of commissioning services.

Meanwhile Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who devised the shake-up, will meet with a potential GP consortia to discuss the plans.

The MPs warn that Department of Health (DH) estimates for the £1.4bn transition costs rely on GP commissioners being willing to take on a proportion of primary care trust staff after the bodies are abolished.

"The Department has no control over such decisions or the resultant redundancy costs," the report stated.

"The Department needs to regularly review the emerging costs of the transition and have contingency arrangements in place if costs exceed expectation."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Public Accounts Committee

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