New NHS reforms set stage for a more decentralised health service

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'The government's changes to the way health and social care are regulated set the stage for an NHS that is less politicised and freed from excessive central control,' The King's Fund chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger said today.

Responding to the Secretary of State for Health's announcement today, Rabbi Julia Neuberger said:

'It appears that both the NHS and social services will be regulated in a more coherent way with more independence from government.

'The next logical steps are now to reduce the number of targets and directives the NHS receives from the Department of Health and to enable more NHS trusts to control their own resources.

'The government's decision to link increased social care funding to penalties for a failure to tackle delayed discharge may help to reduce the number of people who are left in hospital for too long after surgery. But such moves often bring unintended consequences, such as reducing user choice over the package of care they receive.

'In the longer term, the government should now work towards a single funding and regulatory system for all health and social care. For the millions of people who use both health and social services, the gaps between them are meaningless. By funding them according to need and regulating them on the same terms, users should receive a better service and find it easier to complain when things go wrong.'

Notes to editors

1. For interviews with The King's Fund staff please contact Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927.