Published on 22/03/2012
The government’s proposals to reform the NHS in England have been approved in Parliament.
Now, the controversial Health and Social Care Bill will become law once it has received Royal Assent from the Queen, most likely to be granted before Parliament starts its Easter recess next week.
The bill has endured a troubled passage through Parliament, with the government having to concede substantial changes following complaints from the public, medical professionals, Labour and a small group of Liberal Democrats. The restructured NHS will set set-up in 2013.
The Royal College of Nursing said that the passage of the reforms would prove to be a “cause of significant regret”. 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."
The Health and Social Care Bill is intended to give GPs greater control over NHS budgets, reduce bureaucracy and increase patient choice.
The Health and Social Care Bill seeks to abolish the 151 Primary Healthcare Trusts (PCTs) and replace them with more than 250 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). CCGs are groups of GPs that will receive funds from the National Board and make their own funding decisions.
But 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.
Competition for the provision of services will also be increased within the NHS allowing private firms to bid to provide particular services better or more cost effectively than the NHS. Critics worry that private providers will ‘cherry-pick’ the most cost effective cases, leaving the NHS to pick up complicated cases at a greater cost.
© ActiveQuote Health Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals