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Civitas says NHS shake up could be costly

Think-tank, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society (Civitas), predicts that the government's health plans could set the NHS back up to three years

The independent think-tank, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society (Civitas), predicts that the government's health initiatives could set the NHS back up to three years.

In a report, the think-tank said: "Moves to transfer commissioning responsibility to GPs could cost the NHS its £20bn efficiency savings target, and worse."

The coalition government's White Paper on the NHS is widely expected to outline plans to hand control of as much as £80bn of resources in the NHS from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to consortia of GPs with PCTs scrapped.

However, analysis released by Civitas suggests such moves are likely to:

• Lead to at least a one-year dip in performance in the NHS in absolute terms
• Set the NHS back at least three years relative to what could be achieved without any structural change.

Under the plans to be unveiled today, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's vision is to draw together different services, organisations and local strategies.

However the transfer of power over the choice of care would go beyond GPs and directly to patients.

Lansley told the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show on July 11, 2010: "It is not about turning GPs into managers but giving them the powers to make decisions about the shape of services provided. It is about giving patients through their GPs the opportunity to do this."

Mr Lansley will also unveil £1bn of savings of bureaucracy in the Department of Health, including the scrapping of the Food Standards Agency.

Saving the NHS £1bn is equivalent to the salaries of more than 30,000 nurses.

Speaking ahead of what has been billed as the biggest shake-up of the NHS for 60 years, Lansley said: "The biggest difference will be the information that patients have and the control they have as a consequence of that."

The full report can be found on the Civitas website

12th July 2010

From: Healthcare

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