MPs say NHS must undergo radical change

THE NHS must “fundamentally change the way that healthcare is provided” if it is to live within its means, an influential group of MPs will warn today.

A report from the Public Accounts Select Committee says the public will have to come to terms with the need to shut down some hospitals in favour of more centralised specialist units and community-based care.

The report also raises concerns that some non-essential treatments – such as cataract operations and hip replacements – are being delayed for cost reasons.

“Local people are understandably resistant when proposals are made to close their local hospital or reduce the range of services it provides,” said committee chair Margaret Hodge MP.

“It is down to the department to make a clear case for change from the patient’s point of view, demonstrating the benefits in terms of the quality and safety of care as well as cost savings.”

Even though the headline NHS budget is ringfenced, health bosses must find £20bn of efficiency savings over the four years to 2014-15 in order to keep up with growing demand for medical treatment associated with a larger and ageing population.