By Richard Johnstone | 10 April 2014
The pace of reform in the NHS must be increased to ensure that improvements can be made to patient care, the sector’s financial regulator has said.
Publishing its strategy for the next three years today, Monitor said implementation of the changes introduced by the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act needed to speed up.
The reforms, introduced last April, are intended to increase choice and competition in the NHS, as well as giving GPs extra power following the abolition of primary care trusts.
There is a growing consensus about the fundamental changes now required to healthcare, the sector watchdog concluded. These include better integration of health and social care provision, breaking down traditional barriers between providers, and providing less treatment in hospitals and more in the community.
‘If the NHS is to continue to deliver the universal health service to which we are all committed it needs to turbo-charge changes in the way health care is delivered to patients,’ chief executive David Bennett said.
‘In the short term, that means improving quality and efficiency across the board so that all providers meet the standards of the best. And in the medium term it means redesigning how care is delivered, including inventing new models of care, so that we can provide quality care, with compassion, and make the money available to the NHS go as far as possible.’
Monitor’s work from 2014-2017 must support ‘radical’ change while also managing the risks of failure, he said.
‘As the regulator we don’t deliver frontline care for patients. Our job is to support those who do – the nurses, doctors, carers, managers and many more who work inside and beyond the NHS.
‘This means recognising and respecting the challenges they face every day and their commitment to do the best for their patients. Our philosophy is to do what we can to help all these people do the right thing for their patients.’