The King's Fund responds to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report into the government’s proposals for the reform of health and social care

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Responding to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report into the government’s proposals for the reform of health and social care, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘The Committee rightly acknowledges the possible benefits of the government’s health and care reforms, while also identifying the significant pitfalls ministers must avoid.

‘By sweeping away clunky competition and procurement rules, the government’s NHS reform plans could give the NHS and its partners greater flexibility to deliver joined-up care to the increasing number of people who rely on multiple different services. Whether these benefits are realised will critically depend on how the reforms are implemented.

‘However, these reforms only deal with part of the problem facing health and social care. The government has yet to say how it will tackle staff shortages, redress deep-seated health inequalities, or bring forward long-overdue reform of the social care sector.  

‘As part of its inquiry, we told the Committee that the government’s White Paper proposals to improve workforce planning are wholly inadequate. Reformed services are no good without the staff to run them. As staff emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic physically and emotionally drained, there is an increasingly urgent need for a fully funded workforce strategy to increase recruitment and tackle staff stress and burnout. 
 
‘The reforms will place greater power in the hands of the Secretary of State, but ministers should be careful what they wish for. Political expediency should not trump clinical judgement so we support the Committee’s call for greater clarity on why these new powers are needed and how they will be used.’

Notes to editors

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.