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Majority of NHS targets ‘could be abolished in 2023 after review of health service’

The government could scrap a number of NHS targets after a review of the health service, it has been reported.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and health secretary Steve Barclay commissioned Patricia Hewitt, a former Labour health secretary, last month to review how the NHS’s new integrated care systems should work, as well as how the health service should work to “empower local leaders”, giving them more autonomy.

According to the i newspaper, the government could abolish a majority of health service targets as a result of the review, so it can be run along similar lines to schools. Ms Hewitt is set to publish her review next spring.

The newspaper said ministers believe the NHS has become “overly centralised”, with doctors and trusts having to meet many different targets - more than 70 for GPs - and forced to tailor their work to meet them.

Instead, the government would rather run the NHS “more like we do the schools system”, a senior government source told the i, giving local leaders increased responsibility on how to effectively meet NHS goals.

The idea of fewer targets was received positively by the Royal College of GPs, which described many of the targets as “tick box exercises”.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, told the newspaper that GPs are working under “intense workload” and pressure, with a “bureaucratic burden” adding to their workload.

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Source: The Independent, 26 December 2022


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