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Surgery cash shortage now hitting rent rises

The spin

The NHS will trouser £150 million in savings this year as a result of the 'arm's length' review of health quangos, Health Secretary John Reid claims.

He says the windfall puts the Government on course to achieve its £500 million target for health service efficiencies. The cull brings the number of 'arm's length bodies' down to just 24.

The rebuttal

This review amounts to 'desk shuffling' and has failed to tackle bureaucracy or the lack of resources for frontline services, say the Tories.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the Government's plans were about the 'creation of fewer but larger quangos, not the genuine reduction of red tape'.

The reality?

Professor Alan Maynard, professor of health economics at the University of York, says the changes will produce some savings, but there will still be 'overlap and waste'. Only by increasing the amount of data and analysis in the NHS can 'the Titanic avoid the iceberg', he argues.

'Fiddling with the deckchairs, the favourite game of all politicians, will not remedy the fundamental problems of all health care systems, public and private.'

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