By Sanchia Berg
The MPs' report focuses on how the NHS is addressing the so called "Nicholson challenge": to make 4% efficiency gains year on year for the next four years. This has to happen because demand is rising - budgets are not.
The report talks about the urgent need to redesign NHS services, to make fundamental changes to the way care is delivered. Integrating health and social care is essential.
This is not a new problem. For many decades now governments, think tanks, those within the NHS, have recognised the need for greater integration of care, but it simply hasn't happened.
According to Dr Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing, around 40% of acute beds in English hospitals are occupied by people who could have avoided being there.
They could be patients with long-term conditions, which have not been well managed: a diabetic who falls into a coma for instance because they're not being properly monitored by a specialist diabetic nurse who can visit them at home.
Or they could be vulnerable elderly people, admitted to hospital because the doctor is anxious about them, and cannot establish whether they can be cared for safely in their own residence.
Integrating health and social care should mean fewer of these patients are admitted to hospital: and then, hospitals would need fewer acute beds. Savings from closing these could be invested back into social and health care in the community.
The health select committee has warned about 'salami-slicing'
Some pilot projects are already under way - the largest one in north-west London. This brings together GPs, hospital doctors and social care providers: all work together to draw up individual care plans for elderly and diabetic patients. A computer tool has been developed which should allow the different professionals to share information effectively.
Theses are simple changes, which the pilot's managers believe could save many millions of pounds per year.
But the Select Committee has found that a year into the "Nicholson challenge" many parts of the NHS are not making these kinds of structural changes. Instead, they're making short-term savings, "salami slicing" services.
The report says that national policy guidance has emphasised the scale of service change required but that "local reality does not reflect the national policy objectives".
It notes too that there is a "marked disconnect between the concerns expressed by those responsible for delivering services and the relative optimism of the government" over achieving cuts
Worryingly, the committee said it heard evidence that the kind of savings being made would not be sustainable - and would affect the quality of NHS provision in the years ahead.
So - what bearing do the proposed NHS reforms have on this process? The health secretary told the committee that the changes would promote restructuring and integration, as they were engaging clinicians, getting them to redesign services in order to benefit patients.
But other witnesses said that these changes were obstructive. The committee concluded that the reorganisation process "continues to complicate the push for efficiency gains" and that it often created "disruption" and distraction.
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