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DH role in health system is ‘unclear’, Government report warns

The Department of Health may lack the skills to successfully deliver its new role and needs to clarify what its relationship is with the reformed NHS, a recent stakeholder survey has shown.

The ‘Department of Health 2013 Stakeholder Research’ report, published yesterday, details the views of 107 charities, partners and professional health bodies, including the BMA, GPC and RCGP.

The report asked stakeholders to focus on how the DH can ‘improve’ and asked about areas including working relationships with other organisations, their position in the wider health system and perceptions of the DH’s policy making.

When surveyed by the DH, more than a quarter (27%) of respondents disagreed or disagreed strongly that the DH had skills necessary to deliver in it’s new role, over half expressed no opinion and just 17% said they agreed.

On the role the DH plays in the health system since the reforms in April last year, the report states: ‘There was particular confusion about how the new system would work in practice; especially in terms of DH and NHS England’s relationship, and who had responsibility for overseeing the operational delivery of health services.’

It added: ‘The consensus was that greater clarity was required, and that DH needed to provide leadership and direction to ensure the system, and the department itself, can function effectively.’

A DH spokesperson told Pulse: ‘In this survey we specifically asked people to focus on where we can improve. We are determined to act on these findings and make the changes that our stakeholders want to see.’