BMA doubts NHS reforms will save Â£5.5b, as Hunt claims
The BMA have questioned whether the savings for the NHS reforms, proclaimed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a written statement last week, are realistic.
Mr Hunt has said that the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act in England would now cost £1.5bn to £1.6bn, but that it will generate savings of £5.5bn.
The initial projected costs were expected to be £1.2bn to £1.3bn, but having made a new estimate, it is looking to cost more for the reform, and redundancy costs are expected to be around £630m.
The BMA have said that these costs were ‘particularly galling' in the context of the increased squeeze on NHS budgets and rationing of services, and have also questioned whether the projected savings are realistic. Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA, said:
The huge costs of this largely unnecessary reorganisation are particularly galling given that patient services are being rationed.
The NHS has been tasked with saving £20 billion by 2015, and that could go up. Achieving savings on this scale was always going to be a steep challenge, but it is being made even harder by the fact that time, energy and resources have been taken up by massive structural change.
It is difficult to believe that the changes will generate cumulative savings of £5.5 billion. While some costs have been reduced through frontloaded reductions in administrative spending, these are unlikely to be sustainable on the same scale in the longer term.
A DH spokesman said:
The NHS needs to change so that patients get the care they need, when they need it. These costs represent the one-off investment needed to implement our reforms.
We are introducing structures that will make the NHS stronger, so that in the face of an aging population with changing health needs it can provide the very best care patients deserve.
This is why we are handing control to local doctors and nurses, who will be able to make decisions and shape their local NHS around what their patients really need.
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