'Reprieve' for health structure is denied

THE DEPARTMENT of Health said yesterday that no decision has been taken on the future of the 14 regional health authorities in England, despite claims that they had won a government reprieve.

Such a decision would be seen as a partial retreat from a full application of the internal market to the NHS. A spokesman for the department said that a decision was imminent. It was 'absolute nonsense' to suggest that Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, was retreating in any way on the NHS reforms.

Many hospital trusts, which are free of the control of district health authorities, want to see the dissolution of the regional health authorities to which they are still accountable. The regions are regarded as overly-bureaucratic and interventionist. Many trusts want to deal directly with Whitehall.

But it is becoming clear that Mrs Bottomley is determined to retain a tier of administration that will act as a buffer between her department and the trusts. The intermediate tier would also assume responsibility for implementing national health care strategy.

The spokesman said a new type of intermediate tier 'which I would hesitate to call a region' was the most likely prospect. 'The secretary of state is aware that public accountability for the NHS, which employs one million people and spends pounds 36bn, must be safeguarded,' he added.

Mrs Bottomley is expected to make public her decision on the future of the health regions by 23 February at a conference in London on 'managing the market'.

The conference is organised by the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts. Its director, Philip Hunt, said yesterday a new type of region would emerge, one that employed fewer people and had fewer functions. 'It will focus on the market and managing that market.'

A London teaching hospital that is battling to save itself from closure after the recommendations of the Tomlinson inquiry into health care in the capital is being accused of a 'massive disinformation' campaign that has misled the public into thinking that it is losing a national asset.

Senior consultants at the Royal London hospital NHS trust say they are sickened by the campaign initiated by St Bartholomew's hospital.

One consultant from the Royal London, who asked not to be named, said: 'Barts is putting out a certain amount of disinformation in their struggle to survive. They are exaggerating their clinical role and intimating that they are one of the world's unparalleled research centres. This is not the case.'

Professor Michael Besser, chief executive of Barts, last night described the comments as 'rather sad.' He said the Royal London had been hoping to 'pick off' the outstanding research departments from Barts but he said these departments would be much less effective if they were absorbed into a high volume accident and emergency driven service such as the Royal London Hospital.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments