Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Reforms Need 'Fine-Tuning', Says Health Charity

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Reforms Need 'Fine-Tuning', Says Health Charity

Article excerpt

The English NHS should adopt a national programme to improve quality and build on the reforms of the past ten years, according to the Nuffield Trust

A report by the health policy charity on the effect of Labour's health reforms since it came to power in 1997 says the NHS has improved but could do better.

The quest for quality says that heart disease prevention programmes have saved 22,000 lives a year, while 99.9% of patients with suspected cancer see a specialist within two weeks of referral by their GP. However, it is unclear whether the gains are commensurate with the investment in the NHS.

Death rates from heart disease and cancers are still higher than in France, Germany and the US, while the quality of other services varies.

One of the report's authors, Sheila Leatherman, a research professor at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, said the recent reforms had to be fine-tuned to produce the necessary gains in quality. …

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