Comment Reform statement 11 February, 2021

Reform responds to Government Health and Social Care White Paper

Reform think tank Director, Charlotte Pickles, said:

“Despite the efforts of frontline workers, the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the NHS model. The Government is absolutely right to want to strengthen accountability, breakdown organisational barriers and boost financial sustainability. But while there is much to welcome in the White Paper, the measures are not sufficient to achieve these objectives.

“Real integration is hampered by misaligned funding models for primary, secondary and social care – something the White Paper says little on. Government is relying heavily on the proposed duty to collaborate, without tackling the financial disincentives to do so. And without a serious plan to fund social care, the system will remain inefficient and dysfunctional.

“Criticisms of a political ‘land grab’, however, are mistaken, the electorate expect to be able to hold the Government to account for NHS performance. But there is a big difference between setting priorities and taking operational decisions. Political interference in decisions about individual hospital closures or local service provision should be a cause for concern. These should be local decisions made by locally accountable bodies.”