Report unfair to NHS, says Lansley
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has defended his reorganisation of the NHS, describing a highly critical report by MPs as "out of date" and "unfair" to the health service.
Mr Lansley insisted that the NHS was delivering efficiency savings and improvements for patients following a warning from MPs that the overhaul of the NHS is hindering efforts to slash health spending without cutting vital services.
"I think the select committee's report is not only out of date but it is also, I think, unfair to the NHS, because people in the NHS, in hospitals and in the community services are very focused on ensuring that they deliver the best care to patients and that they live within the financial challenges that clearly all of us have at the moment," Mr Lansley told ITV Daybreak.
"I am afraid the evidence points to the fact that they are doing that extremely well."
His remarks follow a highly critical report from the Commons Health Select Committee which said hospitals were resorting to short-term "salami slicing" as they try to find £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014/15.
In a stinging criticism of Mr Lansley's reorganisation, it said the process "continues to complicate the push for efficiency gains".
There was a "marked disconnect between the concerns expressed by those responsible for delivering services and the relative optimism of the Government" over achieving cuts, the committee noted.
The attack is especially wounding as the committee is chaired by one of Mr Lansley's Tory predecessors, Stephen Dorrell, and is dominated by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Lansley said delivering improvements in the NHS and efficiency savings required some degree of organisational change.
"I actually think in the NHS it is being very well managed and we are keeping a focus on improving performance," he said.