Statement on 'Liberating the NHS: report of the arms-length bodies review'

The review aims to reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency in a simplified landscape. This is to be welcomed if quality of outcomes and patient safety initiatives are protected.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists has worked in very close partnership with the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to advance safety in the perioperative environment. The benefits of a professional specialty leader working closely with an organisation with a national safety remit has been an innovation and has increased incident reporting and speedier response to fatal or severe incidents; patients and the service have gained from this work. Therefore it is hoped the NHS Commissioning Board will continue to progress this essential function with its direct links to safer practise and better quality outcomes for patients.

We strongly welcome the move to a more rationalised regulatory framework for greater effectiveness, ease of understanding and speedier communication. It has been an area of particular frustration to healthcare providers and patients alike where an issue involves too many authorities with overlapping boundaries. The Royal College of Anaesthetists looks forward to a more streamlined environment around the Department of Health with clear emphasis on principles that match our own; high standards and safer healthcare.

Dr Peter Nightingale

28 July 2010