Former DoH adviser criticises NHS reforms

An influential academic and former DoH adviser has criticised the government's ‘flawed' reforms that could increase fragmentation at the expense of integrated care.

Chris Ham, professor of health policy at the University of Birmingham and adviser to the Nuffield Trust, said in a Guardian article that the best way of keeping chronic disease patients out of hospital was by community nurses, practices and hospital specialists working more closely together.

However, he said there was little incentive for organisations to collaborate as they were now competing for a share of the NHS budget, which lead to further fragmentation.

He also poured doubt on how widespread the take-up of practice-based commissioning would be and said that it was 'unrealistic to expect this initiative to be a major driver of improved performance'.

Professor Ham said the 'fundamental flaw' in the reforms had been the government's move to strengthen hospitals through foundation trusts, without equal investment and reinforcement of PCTs.

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