WORKFORCE: NHS Worcestershire’s chairman has written a scathing critique of the reforms, saying they are an “unholy mess” and that “amateurs” are dismantling the NHS.

In a letter to local media, Bryan Smith said the NHS in Worcestershire was not working perfectly but had been improving “rapidly”.

Regarding the Health Bill, he said: “My main message is that although it is all an unholy organisational mess right now the people of Worcestershire should not worry too much about the unfolding local situation.  We are making good progress in finding our own way out of the mess.”

He added: “A real professional team like the Mercedes-McClaren F1 team might sensibly respond to this sort of situation by dismantling the whole car and re-building it. For amateurs to do this to the infinitely more complex NHS organisation at a time of economic difficulty was just plain crazy.”

He also expressed concern that managers would flee the health service as a result of the changes.

He wrote: “As an experienced manager I cannot bear to see really good, highly committed people being de-motivated by being described simply as ‘bureaucrats’, nor can I bear to see some of them leaving the NHS altogether or running for safety into lesser jobs which do not fully utilise their skills.

“Managerial talent is a rare commodity which one cannot afford to demean and squander.”

Primary care trust managers and nurses were already “jumping ship”, leaving PCTs “ill-equipped to deliver their responsibilities during the remainder of their life up to 2013”, he said.

He warned that GP commissioning was not the “magical cure-all for the ills of the NHS”.

Regarding the £20bn productivity challenge, he said “by some bizarre process this… appears to have got translated mainly into cutting costs and jobs”.

He concluded by saying the planning for the changes and budget cuts was being carried out jointly between three emerging consortia, PCT and two provider trusts. “This means that whatever eventually emerges will, overall, be the best that is achievable for Worcestershire,” he said.