Shake-up aimed at reducing red tape

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THE Department of Health is adamant the new regime launched today will curb red tape blighting the NHS with more focus placed on the care of patients.

The main aim of the reforms overseen by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to make the NHS more accountable to patients and to release frontline staff from excessive bureaucracy and top-down control.

The responsibilities of outgoing primary care trusts will be shared between Clinical Commisioning Groups (CCGs) along with the NHS Commissioning Board and local councils, which will oversee health improvement campaigns, such as those to tackle obesity and smoking.

Led by GPs and other clinicians, CCGs will take on responsibility for commissioning care such as community health services and planned and emergency hospital care. The overhaul will see 211 CCGs replace 151 PCTs across England.

But it was announced last month only half will be fully ready to start work today. Just 106 are “fully authorised”, according to NHS England which is the overarching body formally known as the NHS Commissioning Board. The other 105 still have conditions attached to their authorisation which means some of their decisions will have to be signed off
or approved by NHS England, which holds responsibility for specialist care and wider public services.

The Yorkshire Post revealed in February that healthcare in the region could become embroiled in a “bureaucratic minefield” as a result of the health reforms.