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NHS modernisation: 'Too much, too fast'

Survey paints gloomy picture of reform

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The pace of modernisation is too fast, according to a new survey of NHS doctors.

Figures released by BMA News, the membership newspaper of the British Medical Association shows that 85 per cent of doctors are "alarmed by the pace of reform in the NHS". In fact, nearly three-quarters of respondents believe that changes including the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) will not improve healthcare services.

The survey of 202 doctors reveals many concerns that reform is rushed and undertaken without sufficient consideration of its impact. Dundee SHO in general medicine Kerrie Bavidge commented that: "The government is going for vote-winning plans without any real consideration of the underlying problems in the NHS." She also said: "I always thought the idea of managing change was to take people with you."

Leicester consultant paediatric neurologist Jayaprakash Gosalakkal says that change will fail unless frontline staff are consulted on service delivery: "None of this is tested and when it fails nobody is held responsible."

Some respondents place the blame squarely with the government. The current financial crisis within the health service, the introduction of payment by results, and the reorganisation of strategic health authorities, coupled with widespread deficits, redundancies and a failing government have led to "chaos".

Too much money is going into re-organising SHAs, which will result in a tripling of the number of chief executives, treasurers and managers with their associate administrators, according to Cambridge consultant in geriatric medicine Gordon Campbell. "No wonder the NHS is overspent," he said

This survey follows the release of a major study into the NPfIT by Medix earlier this year, which also painted a pessimistic picture of the modernisation programme, with only one per cent of respondents believing the new systems were "good" or "excellent".

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