Regional health body to cut bureaucracy

A NEW health authority covering the East of England is to be set up - slashing bureaucracy and management costs, the health secretary has announced.The move will see the current Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) merge with its two counterparts covering Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

A NEW health authority covering the East of England is to be set up - slashing bureaucracy and management costs, the health secretary has announced.

The move will see the current Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA) merge with its two counterparts covering Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

The new East of England body will cover a population of 5.5million compared to the existing Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA which deals with more than 2.2m people and Essex SHA's population of 1.6m.

The announcement was the first from the Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS consultation, which ended on March 22.


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Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt said the reorganisation, which will see the number of SHAs in the country cut from 28 to 10, would ensure the NHS is structurally able to deliver the next stage of health reforms.

Alongside the planned shake up of Primary Care Trusts, details of which will be announced shortly, the changes would boost services, she claimed.

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“These improvements to the local NHS will mean more money for frontline services and better care for patients.”

The changes would result in a more streamlined form of management and administration, as well as cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy, leading to better value for money for the taxpayer, she said.

The aim is for fewer, more strategic organisations that will deliver stronger commissioning functions, leading to improved services for patients.

The new SHA boundaries match those of the Government Office of the Regions except in two instances - the new south east coast and south central SHAs - and the shake up is intended to improve joint working between health and local government agencies.

The new SHA map, which will be established from July 1, was unveiled at a Number 10 Downing Street seminar with the Prime Minister and Ms Hewitt.

The Prime Minister said: “This is time not to step back from the changes we have made but to push on

with them because they do offer us the best chance of getting the NHS we want to see.”

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