Report calls for radical 'quango' cuts

All quangos apart from CQC and NICE should be scrapped says NHS Alliance.

Dr Dixon: Patients should be educated about the cost of their treatment
Dr Dixon: Patients should be educated about the cost of their treatment

A 'bonfire of the quangos' will be required if the health service is to survive the next decade of economic hardship, the NHS Alliance has said.

Patients should also be told the cost of their treatment to encourage responsible use of NHS resources, its chairman Dr Michael Dixon told GP newspaper.

An NHS Alliance report, Maintaining the Vision, makes six key recommendations for the NHS to survive and predicts funding will fall short of the population's health needs by up to 32 per cent by 2017.

A review of all quangos and regulatory bodies should be held and any unnecessary or duplicated services should be scrapped, says the report.

Dr Dixon said many NHS bodies including the foundation trust regulator Monitor 'duplicate other functions'. He questioned 'all of them except NICE and the CQC'.

'All you need is a commissioner, a regulator and a body to come up with new ideas about what is cost-effective,' he said.

Ahead of the NHS Alliance annual conference in Manchester this week, Dr Dixon said explaining the costs of services to patients could end 'the idea of the NHS as a soup kitchen'.

In his speech to the conference Dr Dixon was expected to call for NHS bodies to display treatment prices on surgery walls and discharge summaries.

Another NHS Alliance document, Balancing the Market, backs health secretary Andy Burnham's pledge that 'the NHS is our provider of choice' and calls for tendering only where there is no existing GP provision.

'Commissioners should be focused on negotiating with their providers,' said Dr Dixon.

'Tendering on average takes six months, and hundreds of thousands of pounds.'

The report also recommends primary, secondary and social care teams pool budgets to encourage all areas of the health service to work together.

Dr Dixon was also expected to call for renewed efforts to tackle 'the gap between the centre and the front line, secondary and primary care and between manager and clinician'.

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