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Devolution challenges for the NHS

Devolution has created four different NHS systems in the UK – with some organisations claiming that it is breeding envy among patients.

Gill Morgan, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said patients in the UK’s four nations are receiving different services, driven by different philosophies.

However, patient groups said this is leading to envy among patients, who wonder why they are not receiving the same health care benefits as those in other parts of the UK.

“All we can say is that patients are experiencing different systems, each one has its advantages and we will have to wait to see what happens,” said Ms Morgan.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We must ensure that politics does not stand in the way of people with diabetes receiving good care, regardless of where they live. Each of the UK’s nations must learn from one another’s NHS systems to ensure effective care is in place across the country."

He added: “Each of the four NHS systems has its strengths. For example, in Scotland, there is a lot of flexibility around where healthcare professionals work to allow them to be most useful to patients. In England we are seeing real opportunities in commissioning, and trailblazers Wales and Northern Ireland have led the improvement of social services across the UK.

“Diabetes UK has been key in highlighting clinical needs for people with diabetes in each nation, for example by setting out the problems they encounter with their healthcare.

“Ultimately, we want good care for each person with diabetes across the board. Increasing postcode lottery concerns need to be tackled to ensure that everyone has access to good care and choice from the NHS.”

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