Intended for healthcare professionals


Changes to NHS reforms will increase bureaucracy and treble the number of statutory organisations

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 30 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d4168
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The government’s changes to planned reforms of the NHS will create a more complicated and overly bureaucratic health service in which the number of statutory organisations will increase threefold to 521, MPs have heard.

Warnings that the recent amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill will make the NHS more complex and constrain doctor led commissioning groups came from several witnesses during a whole day evidence session on 28 June of the parliamentary Health and Social Care Bill Committee, which has been reconvened to scrutinise the changes to the bill.

The Department of Health last week published 180 amendments to the health bill to take into account the recommendations of the NHS Future Forum—the independent body set up by the government to review the planned reforms when they were “paused” in April.

MPs on the committee asked whether the new recommitted bill was now more complex and did it involve more reorganisation and more bureaucracy than its predecessor?

Clara Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), giving evidence, said: “With the new bill, post pause, we have calculated that we have gone from 163 statutory organisations to a proposed 521 statutory organisations.

“We have clearly massively increased the bureaucracy within the new ‘post pause’ NHS. The current bill appears to be very incoherent. No matter what one felt about the pre-pause bill, it was coherent. This is now incoherent and is neither liberating nor controlling. It neither allows for GPs to be able …

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