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MPs criticise UK government over poor transition planning

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d358 (Published 18 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d358
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The parliamentary health select committee has criticised the government over its failure to properly plan the transition phase of the healthcare reforms outlined in July’s white paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS.

The committee’s report into commissioning says that the proposal to abolish primary care trusts (PCTs) in England and transfer commissioning responsibility to GP led consortiums was subject to little prior discussion and had not been foreshadowed in the coalition’s programme.

The report says: “The committee does not believe that this change of policy has yet been sufficiently explained given the costs and uncertainties generated by the process.”

It goes on to say that a successful “surprise” strategy requires clarity and planning, but there seems to have been insufficient detail about methods and structures during the transitional phase. The report states: “The failure to plan for the transition is a particular concern in the current financial context. The Nicholson challenge (to deliver 4% efficiency savings per year) was already a high risk strategy and the White Paper increased the level of risk considerably without setting out a plan for mitigating that risk.”

Since the white paper’s publication last July, 2200 management staff have resigned, which has led to …

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