Commenting on reports of the Government’s expected plans to reform the NHS, with a White Paper due to be published this month, NHS Confederation chief executive Danny Mortimer said:
“We need to await the Government’s published White Paper to examine the full details, but we believe this is an important opportunity to better integrate care for patients, the wider public and to deliver more value to the taxpayer.
“At the heart of the new reforms will be breaking down barriers between organisations working in the NHS, and between the NHS, local councils and social care, community and voluntary organisations working together for the good of their local communities. This is the future of health and care. The current legal framework has held us back and new legislation is needed, building on how NHS organisations have worked effectively together, especially during the pandemic.
“There is often anxiety about ‘another NHS reorganisation’, but the NHS and the partners we work with across other public services have been on this journey now for several years. This is the logical next step.
“However, there will be important detail to work through. Ensuring these changes fully involve our partners in local government will be high up the list, as will getting accountability to the Government right given the NHS is a public service that costs over £100bn a year to run. The Government and regulators will need to strike the right balance.
“While Ministers have always been active in setting policy, the NHS has benefited over the last decade from having more control over day-to-day operational matters delegated to it. There is concern though that in an overly centralised system, regardless of the arrangements at a national level, the reforms need to better empower local NHS and care leaders to lead – they are best placed to run health and care services for their local communities.”