Evaluating the Labour Government's English NHS health system reforms: the 2008 Darzi reforms.

Mays, N; (2013) Evaluating the Labour Government's English NHS health system reforms: the 2008 Darzi reforms. Journal of health services research & policy, 18 (2 Suppl). pp. 1-10. ISSN 1355-8196 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1355819613499323

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Starting in 2002, the UK Labour Government of 1997-2010 introduced a series of changes to the National Health Service (NHS) in England designed to increase patients' choices of the place of elective hospital care and encourage competition among public and private providers of elective hospital services for NHS-funded patients. In 2006, the Department of Health initiated the Health Reform Evaluation Programme (HREP) to assess the impact of the changes. In June 2008, the White Paper, High quality care for all, was published. It represented the government's desire to focus the next phase of health care system reform in England as much on the quality of care as on improving its responsiveness and efficiency. The 2008 White Paper led to the commissioning of a further wave of evaluative research under the auspices of HREP, as follows: an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of care planning for people with long-term conditions; an evaluation of the personal health budget pilots; an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) framework; and an evaluation of cultural and behavioural change in the NHS focused on ensuring high quality care for all. This Supplement includes papers from each project. The evaluations present a mixed picture of the impact and success of the 2008 reforms. All the studies identify some limitations of the policies in the White Paper. The introduction of personal health budgets appears to have been the least problematic and, depending on assumptions, likely to be cost-effective for the sorts of patients involved in the pilot. For the rest of the changes, impacts ranged from little or none (CQUIN and care planning for people with chronic conditions) to patchy and highly variable (instilling a culture of quality in acute hospitals) in the three years following the publication of the White Paper. On the other hand, each of the studies identifies important insights relevant to modifying and improving the policies. These findings have continuing relevance since both the 2008 White Paper's policies, and the issues they were focused on remedying, remain central to the current Coalition Government's reform agenda.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 24121832
Web of Science ID: 328815500001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1277155


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