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
john.munro@health.org.uk
020 7257 8000

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