MPs: Health management is depressing
By politics.co.uk staff
Planning skills and management quality within primary care trusts (PCTs) are “depressing,” a committee of MPs has said.
A report published by the Commons health committee today also suggested the trusts are not yet capable of carrying out Lord Darzi’s NHS Next Stage Review (NSR) proposals.
Weaknesses in NHS leaderships need urgent attention, as does the lack of detail given on costs of the reforms, the MPs said.
“Poor PCT commissioning and the failure of successive reforms to enhance it mean that implementation of the reforms may be slower and more uneven than expected,” the committee writes.
The MPs have called on the government to publish and rigorously monitor milestones for each stage of implementation and claim greater clarification is required on the role of practice based commissioning, which they suggest remains “opaque”.
More emphasis needs to be placed on the importance of recruiting and developing better managers and the issue of weak management skills in this area should be tackled, they claimed.
“Not enough detail about cost is given in the NSR and the committee is concerned that neither Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) nor the Department [of Health] have been clear on where and how much money will be saved,” a statement said.
The MPs said they are not convinced by the department’s argument that all PCTs should have a GP-led health centre and instead recommend that their creation should be decided locally on a case-by-case basis.
Chairman of the committee, Kevin Barron MP, said in a statement: “We were pleased by the extent of consultation with clinicians and patients which went into the NSR, and the emphasis in the report on quality and leadership must be welcomed.
“However, we remain very concerned that PCTs are not yet up to the task of putting these reforms into practice. We heard a lot of evidence about weaknesses in PCT commissioning, which our committee has highlighted in previous reports, and the ability of PCTs and SHAs to manage effectively these changes is a genuine worry.
“Lord Darzi’s reforms must not just be the latest in a series of failures to make real change; the blueprint for effective reform is there, but the department must listen and respond to the concerns and challenges highlighted in our report.”
The Conservatives said the report raised serious concerns about the NHS review.
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:
“It’s worrying that such an expensive and lengthy review of the NHS has come up with virtually no new ideas and is more spin than substance.”