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Lansley confirms NHS reform delays

Health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has said the government's controversial proposals for reforming the NHS are to be put on hold so that there can be more time for consultation.

MPs heard from Mr Lansley that there were "genuine concerns" with the plans, which would see GPs take over the role of commissioning health services and result in the abolishment of primary care trusts.

He said that while there needed to be a change to the NHS system, the new structure would not be open to exploitation from private providers, who would not be able to choose the services that offered the most profit - a point that had been highlighted by critics of the Health and Social Care Bill.

The Bill completed its committee stage last Thursday but the speed with which it had progressed through Parliament has caused concern among doctors, nurses and patients, Mr Lansley said.

He did not say how long the delay would last but said the government would listen to concerns.

Mr Lansley told the Commons: "We recognise that this speed of progress has brought with it some substantive concerns. Some of those concerns are misplaced or based on misrepresentations but we recognise that some are genuine.

"We want to continue to listen to, engage with and learn from experts, patients and frontline staff within the NHS and beyond and to respond accordingly."

Mr Lansley said that 43 GP consortia had recently applied successfully to adopt the government's strategy while local authorities were taking on responsibility for acting as public health boards.

He said the government had already improved its plans by strengthening the scrutiny process of local authorities while it had worked to ensure competition would be on the "basis of quality not price".

But Mr Lansley said there could be further improvements to the Bill when it came to opening up the NHS to private providers. Emergency units "clearly will never be based on competition", he said.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Department of Health

We asked what do you think about the announcement? Do you trust Andrew Lansley? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Another pouring water into a bucket with a hole exercise! I agree with Sam from Norfolk that the Health Service needs a service and MOT not a complete rebuild" - Karen B, Surrey

"I also work for the PCT and I am not only seeing but feeling the effects from staff not being replaced and more demands put on the nurses who are left" - Name and address supplied

"Coming from a district nurse standpoint these reforms spell nothing but confusion and loss of frontline nurses. This is already happening. We are unable to progress from part-time to full time even though many of us are working above our hours. Care does not stop just because it's the end of shift and home time. My main concern is the fact that due to lack of money and information on what's about to happen in these so-called reforms, the nursing staff who are released to university to gain band 6 status thus making it impossible to progress within the nursing service. I wonder what will happen in a few years when the band 7s retire and there are very few band 6 nurses. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows the answer. These reforms are a joke and the money should be ploughed back into the service and not on a whim to feather politicians caps" - Julie, Rhondda

"A recent quote in the Daily Mail from the government has convinced me that the government is determined to privatise the health service. The quote said, 'This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to set the health service on a more suitable footing.' In other words once in a lifetime opportunity to privatise healthcare. All this rhetoric about listening is to hoodwink people into believing that they are actually listening. The same lies they told during the election campaign about health and education is the same lies they are telling us now. I guess their aim is to hoodwink us to go along with their plans" - Kereen Browne, London

"Why spend millions changing a system when that money could be put into frontline services instead? There is a lot of waste and bureaucracy within the NHS but a complete change will cause more headaches and bureaucracy for many years ahead. The NHS needs an MOT and service not a completely new vehicle" - Sam, Norfolk

"Not sure about him but at least it is on hold. Already QOF is manipulated to give good results - if GPs get control, what else will be adjusted to give them more money - I don't think nurses will come off better. I like QOF - it means you have to check but it is only good if results are genuine and exclusions are not used for those who do not hit the targets" - Jane, Cambs

"I have no trust in this man, working for a PCT I am seeing the
consequences of these reforms. Hundreds of our staff are being made redundant, no one has any idea how these reforms will work in real terms. Public health staff have been left in limbo with no idea what will happen. Front line staff are losing their jobs and the whole thing is a complete disaster" - Simon, Leeds