Leaked risk register reveals full scale of threat to NHS

By politics.co.uk staff

The health service could face higher costs, struggle with emergencies and be undermined by a rushed implementation of reforms, the NHS risk register has warned.

A draft version obtained by NHS writer Roy Lilley reveals a number of serious concerns which the government had, so far, successfully covered up, the Guardian reported.

"One example of area where system could be more costly is if GP consortia makes use of private sector organisations/staff which adds costs to the overall system," the risk register stated.

It also warned that the NHS' role in responding to emergencies would be "more difficult to manage", resulting in emergencies being "less well managed/mitigated".

Ministers have refused to publish the document despite being ordered to do so by the information commissioner.

The government's appeal to the high court was quashed by a judge but the risk register remained secret while the health and social care bill concluded its parliamentary stages last week.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the details now emerging showed the government had refused to publish the risk register.

"It's because civil servants were telling him his reorganisation was likely to cause major damage to the NHS," he said.

"David Cameron will never be forgiven for knowingly taking these risks with the country's best-loved institution."

Last week the Department of Health said it hoped the legislation would be ready to become law before Easter.

But royal assent has not yet been granted by the Queen and it is not yet clear whether this final step will be taken before parliament rises for its Easter recess later today.