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Health reforms risk fragmenting care

The Health and Social Care Bill risks creating "a new and expensive bureaucracy and fragmenting care system" warns the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Ahead of the Health and Social Care Bill's third reading in the House of Commons, due to take place next Wednesday and Thursday (6 and 7 September), the RCN has expressed "serious concerns" over the impact of the health reforms in an "unprecedented period of financial challenge".

"At a time when the NHS needs to find £20 billion in efficiencies, tackle waste, work harder to prevent ill health and deal with an aging population, we are telling MPs that this Bill risks creating a new and expensive bureaucracy and fragmenting care," said Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN.

"This fragmentation risks making inequalities worse, and preventing health providers from collaborating in the interests of patients. We must avoid a situation where existing NHS providers are left with expensive areas of care while private providers are able to 'cherry pick' the services that can be delivered easily.

"As the Bill enters this final phase, we will be working to ensure that there are checks and balances to avoid these very real risks."

In a statement to Nursing In Practice, Steve Field, chair of the NHS Future Forum, said the independent body was pleased the government listened to concerns and put forward over 180 amendments to the Bill.

"Every health system in the developed world faces the challenges of rising demand, an ageing population and increasing costs of treatment," he said.

"These challenges will not be met by the NHS doing more of the same. They require a culture that centres on patients and makes better value of available resources."

"The old hospital based system has to develop into a more preventative, community based system."

Royal College of Nursing

We asked if you agree with the RCN's views. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Yes, 150%. The Tories are utter liars" - bobigb, Northwest

"Yes" - SG Smith, West Sussex