The NHS is failing to meet its savings targets and new competition laws are standing in the way of “necessary change”, an influential committee of MPs has said.
In their annual inquiry into public spending on health and social care, the House of Commons Health Select Committee said that the “transformation of care that will be required to make the NHS sustainable in the future” was “yet to take place”.
The key goal of “joining up” the work the NHS does, with the care provided by local authorities to elderly and vulnerable people at home and in the community, so as to improve prevention and save money, was still far off because of a static NHS budget and falling social care budget, the Committee said.
It also criticised new rules established by the Government’s NHS reforms, which mean that Competition Commission can intervene in mergers between NHS care providers.
The Committee said the Government should review the case of Bournemouth and Poole hospitals, whose proposed merger was blocked last year on the grounds that it was bad for competition, adding that “unnecessary impediments to necessary change” should be removed.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the Committee’s findings were “a damning verdict…on the damage done to the NHS by David Cameron’s reorganisation.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said that the NHS budget had been protected in real terms, but said that “insisting on compassionate care” by expanding the nursing workforce – a strategy which followed on from the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal – had “inevitably put pressure on finances”.