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70% of NHS staff ‘confused’ over healthcare structure


4 November 2016

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Nearly three quarters of healthcare workers say they do not understand the role of national healthcare bodies, a survey of over 1000 NHS staff has found.

The report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) called for the Government to clarify their role and move to a more devolved system where local areas are given more accountability and responsibility.

PwC surveyed more than 1,000 NHS staff and over 2,000 members of the public in England to gain the views of both those within and outside of the system.

Nearly three quarters of healthcare workers say they do not understand the role of national healthcare bodies, a survey of over 1000 NHS staff has found.

The report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) called for the Government to clarify their role and move to a more devolved system where local areas are given more accountability and responsibility.

PwC surveyed more than 1,000 NHS staff and over 2,000 members of the public in England to gain the views of both those within and outside of the system.

The results show a high level of confusion and frustration across the board with 71% of NHS staff believing the entire system should be reformed.

PwC suggests delegating responsibility for managing the health and care system in their areas to Sustainability and Transformation Planning (STPs) and creating a new care management board or merging NHS Improvement and NHS England to simplify the structure of the current health and care system.

Over the longer term the company suggests devolving accountability by allowing regional care groups to become democratically accountable bodies with responsibility for commissioning health and social care and giving the leaders of these bodies the power to raise funds through taxation.

Alan Milburn, former Health Secretary and chair of the PwC Health Industries Oversight Board, said: "Despite the best efforts of its leaders to make it work, the current national architecture is confused and complex. The artificial divide between health and social care makes as little sense as the division of labour between a myriad of national bodies. 

“Organisational change is always a risk but without it, the move towards integrated local care systems will be undermined. 

“This report sets out a long-term reform agenda towards an NHS in which the balance of power moves from national to local level where services are delivered." 

Some 66% of NHS staff in England are also frustrated by the division between health and social care, saying it is bad for patients.

As a result the report also calls for health and social care to be brought under one department, away from the current system where social care sits with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

David Morris, PwC partner and author of the report, added: “Our research highlights a persistent underlying sense of confusion about the roles of national bodies in the NHS, coupled with frustration over the division between health and social care. Evidently there is growing appetite for reform.”

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