Magazine article Public Finance

Patients 'Yet to Feel the Benefit of Market Reforms'

Magazine article Public Finance

Patients 'Yet to Feel the Benefit of Market Reforms'

Article excerpt

The government has pumped ?lbn into introducing market-style reforms in the NHS, but they have not yet brought significant benefits to patients, two watchdogs have found.

In a joint report on the marketorientated mechanisms - payment by results; practice-based commissioning; the Patient Choice programme; use of the private sector; and the introduction of foundation trusts - the Healthcare Commission and the Audit Commission say the NHS has made 'significant progress' since the new systems were announced in the 2000 NHS Plan,

'However, it is difficult to attribute any of these changes to the system reform programme,' it says. Increased investment in the NHS, waiting-time targets and National Service Frameworks were perceived by NHS staff 'to have had much more of an impact', it notes.

The June 12 report, Is the treatment working?, says the reforms have the 'potential to deliver significant service improvements'. But the watchdogs found they had not yet had a national impact on the quality of care, despite some local successes.

Healthcare Commission chair Sir Ian Kennedy said: 'These reforms have triggered improvement both in organisation and management, but there's still some way to go before patients get any significant benefits. …

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