Reform, an independent non-party think-tank, has prepared a report, based on collated available evidence, arguing that there has been a lack of progress in reforming the NHS over the course of this Parliament.

As it states “in several areas, reform is actually in retreat”.

The report contains some interesting statistics to show, amongst others, that there has been no change in spending on general and acute hospital services despite commitments to shift care from hospitals to the community.

The report also pulls together evidence to show that there has been no discernable increase in diversity of providers and it quotes sources that claim only 50 per cent of CCGs were “planning to make greater use of competition” and that 30 per cent of CCGs “identified competition as a barrier to change”.

Much of the evidence in this report is sourced prior to the wholesale changes to the NHS which took effect on 1 April 2013. However, Reform does not seem to hold out much hope that these changes will bring about the reforms needed. It describes the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 as “watered down” and it is also concerned by the “multiplication of bodies that health providers and patients have to work with” as a result of the reforms.

It concludes that removing the ring-fence on the health budget “would provide a reason for the NHS to seek the efficiency and change Ministers rightly want but which they have yet to deliver”.

The report can be found at the link below: http://www.reform.co.uk/content/29514/research/health/flatlining_lack_of_progress_on_nhs_reform