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HIV experts concerned over care

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Almost two thirds of health professionals who work with HIV sufferers are concerned about the quality of care their patients will receive after the NHS reforms take effect next year.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA), which represents HIV care professionals, said that 60% of its members are worried about the effect the transition will have on their patients.

The changes, which are to be implemented because of the controversial Health and Social Care Act, could bring a “major setback in the UK response to HIV”, said Jane Anderson, chair of the BHIVA.

“We are at a crucial clinical and political juncture,” said Professor Anderson.

“Systemic reforms coming into effect in April 2013 bring a risk of fragmentation of a highly effective and cohesive area of medicine which would be a major setback in the UK response to HIV.”

She added that there should be a national HIV champion to address concerns raised about patients.

“To secure the current high quality outcomes for HIV care, reduce new infections and reverse the current health inequalities associated with HIV, many different elements need to come together as a cohesive, well planned and executed programme that is both locally responsive and nationally appropriate,” she said.

“This needs an overarching understanding of the field together with strong leadership.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We are aware of concerns raised about the future commissioning of HIV treatment services, and we are working with the NHS to resolve them.

“Our priority is to ensure high quality care is provided to patients when new arrangements come in next year.”

 

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