__Only 5% of health professionals in the UK think reforms in the NHS have had a positive impact and many believe that improving patient care comes second to making savings.
That is the outcome of a survey from public services polling company Dods. Its analysis is based on replies to an online questionnaire in July by 3,628 health staff who were asked about their experiences of reforms from the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the organisations driving change, and their expectations for the next 12 months.__ Money is a prime concern with only 2% saying their organisation had sufficient financial resource and 71% disagreeing with the idea that they have enough budgetary support to support their organisation.
On the positive side, the survey found that efforts to foster more joined-up services and collaboration are working well in some areas. Some 52% of respondents said clinical commissioning groups are "driving change a lot", with NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and parliamentarians following behind. Patient care remains a high priority, but for many organisations it comes after making efficiency savings “and this pattern looks set to continue into the next financial year”, the report concludes.
As part of the research, 100 MPs were also asked their opinions and attitudes on the impact of the reforms are split down party lines - 39 MPs said the changes had been negative, of which 78% were Labour and 10% Conservative. No Labour MP said the impact of the reforms had been positive.__David Bowers, senior research manager at Dods says the survey “shows a clear tension within the health service surrounding the need to make efficiency savings, while at the same time maintaining and improving standards of care”. This is “very much an issue in the minds of health professionals whose commitment to patient care remains steadfast”, he added.
As to ways to reduce this tension, Mr Bowers told PharmaTimes: “I think the NHS has to be pragmatic: the current reorganisation was always going to cost more than it saved in the short term. The Department of Health’s impact assessment predicted upfront costs of around £1 billion for the transition to CCGs, while any savings will take time to filter through”.
He added that “given wider economic conditions, money will remain tight for the foreseeable future. In light of this, what’s important is to give the reforms time to bed in, for CCGs to find their feet and strengthen their links across the wider healthcare system, and for politicians to resist the temptation to make further changes”.