Encouraging local collaboration to improve care for patients is sensible, but greater ministerial power over the NHS takes health care backwards Health Foundation response to Health and Care White Paper

11 February 2021

Responding to the Health and Care White Paper outlining proposals for legislation to make major changes to the way the NHS is organised, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation Dr Jennifer Dixon said:

'One half of the proposals – to help local services collaborate better – could help improve care for patients and follows the direction NHS leaders are already taking. The other half – giving the Secretary of State more power over the NHS – is concerning, has no clear rationale and could take health care backwards.

'Proposals to boost collaboration between services are welcome and might bring real benefits, although these are often oversold to justify change. And there are risks – the NHS is currently facing the biggest challenge in its history. With a major backlog of unmet care needs and a workforce crisis to address in the wake of COVID-19, a reorganisation of the health system could cause distraction and disruption.

'The proposals for more 'command and control’ over the NHS by the Secretary of State are politically driven. The government’s handling of COVID-19 is no advert for more ministerial intervention in the health system. It is disappointing that political energy isn’t focused on fixing adult social care, one of the biggest policy failures in a generation, instead.'

Media contact

John Munro
020 7257 8000

Further reading

Long read

NHS reform

About 13 mins to read

Long read

Given plans for significant changes to NHS structures and legislation, our long read sets out five...

You might also like...

Newsletter feature

Five key findings from our COVID-19 impact inquiry

Newsletter feature

We summarise key insights from the COVID-19 impact inquiry report. 

Newsletter blog

Good health: vital for levelling up

Newsletter blog

Jo Bibby considers the weight of expectation now attached to the term ‘levelling up’, and puts this...

Press release

Decades of insider experience of the NHS will be crucial for the work ahead

Press release

Health Foundation response to the announcement of Amanda Pritchard as the new Chief Executive of NHS...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Our #REALCentre analysis shows that several NHS staff groups have seen real terms pay cuts over the past decade. R… https://t.co/0EiZmj4OW5

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more