Hancock promises less bureaucracy, more accountability for the NHS. Credit: Tolga Akmen/Pool photo via AP

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed a plan to significantly reorganise the National Health Service. The government said the plan will enable health and care services to work closer together.

Hancock added that this reorganisation would reduce bureaucracy and improve integration within the NHS, and would allow the service to focus “on the health of the population, not just the health of the patients”. The reorganisation would improve care while tackling health inequalities with measures to address oral health, obesity and patient choice, he added.

Labour immediately questioned the timing of these changes, which would happen in the middle of a pandemic – one of the biggest health crises that the NHS has ever faced. But Hancock said that there is “no better time than now”, since the pandemic has made these changes even more urgent.

Ministers think that these changes will better equip the NHS to deal with an ageing population and a significant increase of individuals with complex health conditions. But health bodies and experts are worried that these changes could distract staff from helping patients and as a result, the government would be blamed for any fault which occurs.