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20.06.13

Removing ring-fence would boost change – Reform

The NHS ring-fence could be actively holding back service change and reorganisation, a new report from think-tank Reform warns.

The research calls for Government to remove the ring-fence on the health service budget to allow faster innovation and greater efficiency, ahead of the spending review next week.

NHS spending has increased by 94% in real terms between 1999/2000 and 2009/10, and progress in change has been “disappointingly slow”. There is a real need to increase capability for care in the community, but hospitals and emergency services are still afforded more money, Reform argues.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has defended the ring-fence policy for the NHS.

Reform states: “The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has argued that the NHS budget should not be cut since demand for health services is rising.  This ignores the fact, however, that NHS spending increased by 94% in real terms between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010. 

“Removing the ring-fence on the health budget would provide a reason for the NHS to seek the efficiency and change that Ministers rightly want but which they have yet to deliver.”

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