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Liberal Democrats would cut Department of Health in half

15 April 2010

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The Liberal Democrats plan to cut the size of the Department of Health in half and scrap “unnecessary levels of management” in the NHS to save money and improve care for patients, according to its manifesto.

If elected, the Lib Dems would completely do away with strategic health authorities (SHA), which oversee the running of health trusts and act as an extra management tier between hospitals and government.

Large and expensive quangos that fail to show a significant benefit will also be axed under a pledge to cut bureaucracy and prevent money being wasted.

Government-private partnerships that face being being wound up include Connecting for Health, which is overseeing the multi-billion pound NHS IT upgrade.

A further pledge is to cut down the number of government targets and give patients more guarantees over treatment.

The pay and bonuses of top NHS managers will also be capped so that none are paid more than the prime minister.

Patients will be given more power, through elected local health boards, which will take over the role of PCT boards in commissioning care for local people.

Over time, the boards will take on responsibility for allocating money and resources “to allow local people to fund local services which need extra money”.

The manifesto also places emphasis on preventative healthcare – stopping people from becoming ill in the first place.

By linking payments more closely with preventative measures, GPs and health boards would have a financial incentive to promote healthy living.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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