NHS reforms cost soars by £300m

 

The Government's controversial NHS reforms are to cost £300 million more than previously thought, the Health Secretary said.

Implementing the Health and Social Care Act is now expected to cost the taxpayer between £1.5 billion and £1.6 billion, Jeremy Hunt said.

The cost of rolling out the reforms was initially thought to be between £1.2 billion and £1.3 billion.

Mr Hunt announced the cost increase in a written statement to the House of Commons.

The Act became law in March after a tortuous passage through Parliament.

Unions fought strenuously against the Act, which has been recently been referred to as the "mother of all top-down reorganisations".

The Royal College of General Practitioners chair Dr Clare Gerada also said the reorganisation had put the NHS "in distress".

At the College's annual conference, which was held in Glasgow earlier this month, Dr Gerada said that, while the Act applies to England only, all the health services across the UK are under pressure to find ways of delivering services more efficiently without compromising the quality of patient care.

PA

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