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Britain Health Reforms Can Cause Crisis

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TEHRAN, March 19 (ICANA) – A report by the British Department of Health warns its planned National Health Service (NHS) shakeup puts the service under “huge financial pressures” at an “extremely turbulent” time.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 11:07:23 PM
Britain Health Reforms Can Cause Crisis

The report said even the former smaller changes to the service had a “negative effect” on the health care, staff morale and productivity, and the new “unprecedented” plans for the nhs reorganization will present a “key risk factor for serious service failure.”

The paper, handed out to NHS bodies to inform them of the upcoming reforms and the ways to cope with them with the minimum patient care damage, also warned of the looming threat to the “quality of care provided to patients” and “continuity of services” due to the cuts to the NHS managing body and experienced staff.

The government has proposed to devolve the duty of England's 10 Strategic Health Authorities and 152 Primary Care Trusts to new local GP-led commissioning consortia and a national nhs Commissioning Board.

According to the papers, signed by senior civil servants, including Chief Executive of the nhs David Nicholson, the scenario could still be worsened by the government's £20 billion cutbacks to the health service.

The planned changes to the NHS structure that MPs are currently discussing under the Health and Social Care Bill will hand control of 80 percent of NHS spending on commissioning treatment for patients to GPs.

The embattled reforms, proposed by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, have faced opposition from GPs, unions and even his Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues.

In Parliament, Liberal Democrat and Conservative backbenchers are lobbying for a review of the plans with warnings heard from health experts and charities about the shakeup leading to the nhs breakdown.

The Health Department report identified the restructuring of the NHS as one of “the greatest challenges” in the history of the service.

“Despite the relatively strong financial settlement afforded by the spending review, rising demand, demographic changes and the cost of new drugs and technologies mean the NHS will need to deliver efficiency savings of up to £20 billion over this period if it is to improve the quality of the comprehensive service on offer to patients,” it said.

“Modernisation plans will leave few parts of the current system untouched and past experience and lessons from elsewhere shows that any period of structural change can put quality and safety at risk,” it added.

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