The NHS reorganisation comes into full effect next April
Next April, the Government’s much-discussed NHS reforms come in to full effect.
But preparation is already underway for what many see as one of the biggest changes to the NHS’s structure in its lifetime.
Staff around the NHS are being given new roles and responsibilities. Old regional structures are being replaced with newer, local ones. And – in keeping with these austere times – belts are being tightened.
Given the nature and scale of these reforms, earlier this year we asked a team of independent academics at the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham to investigate how they were affecting cancer care on the ground.
The Birmingham team did two things. First, they analysed publicly available data on waiting times and budgets across the NHS. Secondly, they conducted more than fifty in-depth interviews with key NHS staff from a variety of roles around the country, asking them how things were faring.
Today we’ve published their final report on our website (you can download a PDF of the whole thing here, and here’s an executive summary).
Their findings are mixed. As well as good news, there are areas of real concern.
On the one hand, waiting times for most things seem stable. This is reassuring, particularly given the growth in the UK population (which is also getting older – meaning increased cancer rates).
On the other hand, cancer budgets have decreased in real terms, and there’s widespread anxiety among interviewees about the potential loss of expertise, and fragmentation of services.
Below we’ll take a deeper look at the report’s findings. But first, we’ll briefly discuss what the reforms mean, and how the NHS is changing.