The NHS could save nearly £800 million by merging quangos, new TPA research finds

April 16, 2018 10:30 PM

A new report by the TaxPayers’ Alliance shows that the NHS could save nearly £800 million by merging various NHS management bodies.

The report advocates reducing the number of quangos from 19 to 7:
  • This would save approximately £760 million
  • This would also release top managerial time to improve efficiencies in the system.
  • Granting more independence to NHS England would free it from meddling politicians.
  • Savings to the Department of Health and Social Care could save a further £40 million.
 
Commenting on the report, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:


“The system of NHS quangos has become a total mess, with both patients and taxpayers bearing the brunt of poor performance, duplication and confusion. Too many of these bodies have been created by political power struggles, with taxpayers picking up the bill for turf wars between management arms of the NHS. By abolishing unnecessary bodies and merging others, the NHS could save hundreds of millions for taxpayers and ensure that resources are focused on the essentials."
 

NHS Improvement, in particular, is a powerful body that sometimes clashes with the Care Quality Commission. Whereas the CQC is concerned with patient treatment, NHS Improvement focuses on finances and management and therefore can affect the quality of care when its’ priorities differ from the CQC’s. Abolishing NHS Improvement would, therefore, put patients ahead of bureaucrats. 

Specific recommendations of the new report include:
  • Make NHS England a publicly-owned corporation, or transfer governance to an independent board.
  • Abolish the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, National Information Board, and NHS Improvement.
  • Merge Public Health England, Health Education England and the Health Research Authority. Functions of Health Education England can be given to universities, whereas the Health Research Authority’s work is already done by the Medical Research Council.
  • Merge NICE with another three bodies to create one organisation responsible for medicines and technology.
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