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Burden of regulation becoming “onerous” warns NHS Alliance

7 December 2007

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the NHS Alliance has warned that NHS frontline professionals are questioning whether the burden of regulation is becoming so onerous that it fails to match the benefits to patients, following the Healthcare Commission’s State of Healthcare report published this week.

The Alliance says there is an urgent need for a dialogue with the Healthcare Commission in order to establish a balance between the needs of the regulators and the needs of individual patients.

The Commission says that checking the height and weight of every patient in order to establish a BMI database is “basic work” for GPs.

Responding to this, Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chairman and a GP, says: “My basic work – and that of every GP and every clinician – is to make sure my patient gets the best possible treatment for whatever condition he or she is suffering from.

“That may include checking height and weight. But often that is inappropriate. The patient may be acutely ill and in pain. He or she may be distressed, worried or anxious. There may be an urgent need for specific treatment or for referral to a specialist for further investigations. The patient’s needs must come before the needs of bureaucracy.”

The NHS Alliance claims that PCTs are sometimes finding that the time and effort needed to satisfy the demands of regulators is distorting their essential day to day work for patients.

Dr Dixon says: “The purpose of regulation is to protect patients and ensure services are planned and delivered effectively. There is a danger that it is developing a life of its own, divorced from that. We urge the Healthcare Commission to discuss with those who deliver care to patients the best way forward.”

NHS Alliance