Changes to Health Bill a necessity to meet objectives - RCN
Published: 28 January 2011
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) today warned that major NHS reforms were unlikely to meet their objectives unless significant changes were introduced to the Health and Social Care Bill.
Ahead of the second reading of the Bill, the RCN has issued a detailed briefing to MPs, amid concerns that the combined measures of reform and efficiency savings could negatively impact on the quality of patient care. In particular, it calls for changes to the Bill to ensure:
• Care is not fragmented, leading to inequalities in provision and an inability for clinicians and health providers to collaborate;
• Quality of patient care is not detrimentally affected by forced price competition;
• Nurses are represented at commissioning consortia board level and on the National Commissioning Board;
• Nationally agreed pay, terms and conditions are not threatened by moves to localised pay structures and negotiating.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “We want to work with the Government to ensure that the NHS develops and moves forward in a way that we all would wish. However, we have major doubts that the policies set out in the Bill will deliver on their underlying principles of placing patients at the centre of care, reducing inefficiency in the NHS and improving standards across all aspects of the health service.
“Our concerns are honestly held and we have at heart the interests of patient care. These huge reforms are set to be introduced at a time of major financial constraints and during a £20 billion efficiency drive, adding to the burden of an already overworked workforce and service. It is our fear that the dual challenge of reform and efficiency savings could damage the quality of patient care.”
Notes for Editors
2. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interest of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations