Labour have accused the government of putting patient safety at risk by implementing the new NHS changes. Risk assessments carried out by local health trusts have uncovered concern about the ability for facilities to cope with the increased workload involved in implementing massive structural changes and cost cutting, alongside maintaining the standard of patient care.
This week sees the Health and Social Care Bill enter yet another committee stage in the House of Lords. The controversial bill could lead to the abolition of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, and could allow hospitals to fill budget shortfalls by catering for people with private health insurance.
There is widespread concern for the future care of the elderly, children and pregnant women in particular, with all being especially vulnerable and likely to suffer most from sub standard care. It is expected that the increased workload could lead to higher rates of sickness absence, further jeopardising patient care.
The big issue Labour have at the moment is the disclosure of the risk level, however the government claim the risk information has been published twice in 2011 as part of the impact assessment. It looks like the controversy over the bill is set to continue for some time, with few parties agreeing on the best way forward.