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London healthcare reform put on hold by government

20 May 2010

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A move to rearrange the provision of healthcare in London has been put on hold by the new health secretary Andrew Lansley.

The 10-year Healthcare for London plan, which was introduced by the Labour government to reduce the massive projected shortfall in NHS funding for the capital that was expected to emerge, will now be reviewed to see if it is the best solution.

The reform planned to switch the burden of care from hospitals to GP-led centres or “polyclinics”, but was unpopular with some in the NHS who feared the new polyclinics would be run be private companies. There were also questions about estimates the changes could see hospitals lose 72% of their workload.

The decision means the government may have to come up with a new way of cutting costs as the NHS in London estimates its PCTs will face a £5.1bn funding gap by 2016-17.

Mr Lansley (pictured) said in a statement: “A top-down, one-size fits all approach will be replaced with the devolution of responsibility to clinicians and the public, with an improved focus on quality.

“It will be centred on a sound evidence base, support from GP commissioners and strengthened arrangements for public and patient engagement, including local authorities”.

In a statement issued following Mr Lansley’s announcement, NHS London Chief Executive Ruth Carnall said: “The secretary of state is clear that GPs must take the lead in deciding which services are provided locally. He is also clear that Londoners must have a bigger say on the shape of local services and be able to make informed choices on where they go to receive care.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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