Reorganisation of the Nhs

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THE REORGANISATION OF THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE This paper is concerned with the major changes, which have taken place in the National Health Service (NHS) following the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. Any UK government is faced with a long list of health issues, this list would include macro questions such as the relationship of the National Health Service (NHS) to broader policies which might affect the health of the population and how to finance and staff health services. The NHS has gone through many stages of development in the last century, however the 1990 act introduced the most radical accounting control system since the birth of the NHS. Much accounting research has been developed on this topic and this paper will bring together some of their findings. By the late 1980’s general management in the NHS was in full force, and expectations of ‘management discipline’ were high, however there were a series of recurrent crisis. These crises were particularly evident in the hospital services and were caused by a combination of scarcity of compatible resources and an infinite demand for health care. Through a fundamental view of operations in 1989, two reviews were drawn up by the department of health, ‘working for patients’ and ‘caring for people’ (DoH, 1989a, 1989b), and these formed the basis of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. The main focus of the impact was the concept of the internal market. This essentially involved the separation of two of the main functions of the NHS, purchasing and providing. Purchasing is defined as the buying of health services to satisfy local needs and providing, is defined as the day to day business of delivering that care. The purchasing agencies are provided with a budget which reflects their defined population, from which they must identify health needs, plan ways to satisfy them while ensuring the quality of the service. When the purchaser


References: Clatworthy, M. Mellett, H. (1997) Managing health and finance: Conflict or Congruence? Public Money and Management Oct-Dec pp 41-46 Farnham, D. Horton, S. (1995) Managing the new public services (3rd edn) (Macmillan Press Ltd) Flynn, N. (1993), Public Sector Management (2nd edn) (Harvestor Wheatsheaf, Hemel Hempstead) Harrison, S. (1997) Health – The agenda for an incoming government, Public Money and Management Apr-Jun pp 27-31 Hood, C. (1994) ‘The new public management in the 1980’s, Accounting, Organisations and Society. Humphrey, C. (1991) Accountable management in the public sector in chap 9 in issues in management accounting ed. Dashton, T Hopper & RW Scapens, Prentice Hall 1991. Llewellyn, S. (1993) Linking costs with quality in health and social care: new challenge for management accounting, Financial Accountability and Management, Vol 9 No 3, Aug 1993 Preston, AM. Cooper, DJ. Coombs, RW (1992) ‘Fabricating budgets: A study of the production of management budgeting in the NHS’, Accounting, Organisations and Society Vol 17, No 6 pp 561-93 Sheaff, R. West, M. (1997) Marketization, managers and moral strain: Chairman, Directors and public service ethos in the National Health Service, Public Administration Vol. 75 Summer 1997 pp 189-206

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