NHS 'faces challenges' amid reforms
The NHS faces challenges in ensuring safe and stable healthcare while the Government's reforms are implemented, according to a new report.
The "unprecedented" programme of change will require "exceptionally skilled and focused management" over the next few years, according to the Nuffield Trust.
It said new organisations emerging from the restructure, which will see primary care trusts and strategic health authorities abolished, will face challenges if they try to do more than keep things ticking over.
One such pressure is the Government's demand that the NHS saves £15 billion to £20 billion a year in "efficiency savings".
The report said: "To expect newly forming organisations to engage in anything more than effective management of the transition itself is highly ambitious.
"Indeed, business as usual in an NHS charged with making unprecedented 4% annual efficiency savings is a mammoth task."
The study is accompanied by the publication of surveys into GP and public attitudes towards the NHS and the reforms.
Two of the surveys were of GPs, with a sample size of more than 800 GPs per survey.
Fewer than a quarter (23%) of all the GPs agreed that the Government's reforms would improve the quality of patient care.
A separate survey of more than 1,000 adults found 56% think fundamental changes to the NHS are needed, while a third believe only minor changes are required.