Liberal Democrats will abolish health quangos that cost NHS £1.2bn

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 12 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c870
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1BMJ

    The National Patient Safety Agency, National Treatment Agency, and the NHS Litigation Authority would all be abolished under Liberal Democrat proposals to reduce bureaucracy in the NHS.

    In their blueprint for the NHS (not the official manifesto), Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, described a “complex web of quangos and regulators” costing the NHS £1.2bn (€1.4bn; $1.9bn) per year.

    Also on the Liberal Democrats’ list for the axe are primary care trusts, which would be replaced by directly elected health boards that have a legal duty to provide value for money. It is this shift from central “bureaucratic control” and emphasis on NHS finances in the run up to the election that has marked the Liberal Democrats out from the other parties.

    Jonathan Nicholls, research director of health and the NHS for pollsters Ipsos MORI, said that NHS finances don’t seem to be part of the debate. “Even flat funding for the NHS over the next three years equates to a 15-20% cut,” he said.

    But speaking at the King’s Fund this week, Mr Lamb described the four main planks of …

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