Published on 30/03/2012
After 14 months of controversy the NHS reforms have finally become law, with the Queen granting Royal Assent in March 2012. Here, we summarise the key changes that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 will bring to the UK healthcare system, and the reactions from healthcare professionals.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s NHS reform aims to offer greater patient choice, empower health professionals like GPs and reduce NHS administration costs. It is the most extensive reorganisation of the structure of the National Health Service in England to date.
In April 2013, the 151 Primary Healthcare Trusts (PCTs) will be abolished and replaced with more than 250 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England. CCGs will be partly run by GPs, who will receive funds from the National Board and design health services for their local area.
But the Royal College of General Practitioners said it was "concerned that some of the types of choice outlined in the government’s proposals run a risk of destabilising the NHS."
And a poll conducted by Doctors.net.uk reveals that 83 per cent of GPs believe that handing NHS funding decisions to local CCGs will lead to a greater NHS postcode lottery.
Another controversial result of the reforms will be greater involvement from the private sector. By allowing ‘any willing provider’ to bid to provide better services than the NHS, patients will have greater choice over their healthcare. But the British Medical Association warns that having many different providers will increase cost and fragment care.
Health professionals across the country will now have to work together to keep the UK healthcare system running smoothly. RCN chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: "It is now our responsibility to patients to do everything we can to ensure that the health service runs as best as it can despite the massive upheaval that this Bill will bring."
© ActiveQuote Health Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals