Patient groups fear cutbacks will hit NHS front-line workers

Patient groups fear front-line workers will be hit hardest by NHS cutbacks, a survey shows.

A survey of 887 patient groups, representing more than one million patients, revealed widespread concerns about DoH plans to reform the NHS.

Over 100 respondents identified cutbacks as their main fear, despite a pledge to ring-fence the NHS budget.

Some fear cuts to central monitoring services such as the Audit Commission will lead to a decline in NHS standards.

The survey also found a lack of communication between the government and patient groups.

Almost three quarters (74%) do not believe that the government wants to hear their views. None of the patient groups had been directly consulted by the DoH on the future of the NHS.

Alexandra Wyke, managing director of the think tank Patient View, which conducted the survey, said: ‘We feel there’s a lack of consultation going on with patient groups.

‘If you’re going to encourage community groups to get involved in a "Big Society", it might be a good idea to talk to them first’.

But a DoH spokeswoman said: ‘It is simply untrue that the government has ignored patient groups. We have engaged fully with a wide range of stakeholders.’

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