Last chance for the NHS

Those of you who have followed me on Twitter, will realise that I have spent much of my energy over the last twelve months in trying to draw attention to the potential catastrophe facing the NHS.
Andrew Lansley’s Health Bill is likely to mean the end of the NHS as we know it.
It would lead to the break up of the NHS into hundreds of isolated parts, none communicating, or cooperating with the others.
Despite David Cameron’s claims to the opposite the Medical profession is firmly opposed to the reforms, so are the nurses and academic experts.
I shall be posting a series of articles over the next week pointing out some of the areas of damage that the so-called NHS reforms would inflict on the NHS.
Meanwhile, by way of a taster here is a leading article from the Lancet.
A letter published this week in The Daily Telegraph
(Oct 4) is worth reproducing in full. It is a devastating
critique of the UK Government’s current health policy
and is signed by some of the leading scientists and
thinkers in public health today: Prof Michael Marmot,
Prof Andy Haines, Prof Martin McKee, Prof Rosalind
Raine, Prof Alan Maryon-Davis, Prof John Ashton, Prof
Mel Bartley, Prof Raj Bhopal, Prof Yoav Ben-Shlomo,
Prof Carol Brayne, Prof John Britton, Prof Simon
Capewell, Prof Michel Coleman, Prof Ruth Gilbert, Prof
Walter Holland, Prof Margaret Whitehead, Prof David
Leon, Prof Angus Nicoll, Prof Klim McPherson, Prof
Allyson Pollock, Prof Sian Griffi ths, Dr Bobbie Jacobson,
Dr June Crown, Dr Paul Edmonson-Jones, Dr John
Middleton, and Dr David McCoy, together with nearly
400 others. Here it is.
“Sir, As public health doctors and specialists, we are
concerned about the Health and Social Care Bill. The
Bill will do irreparable harm to the NHS, to individual
patients, and to society as a whole.
It ushers in a degree of marketisation and
commercialisation that will fragment patient care;
aggravate risks to individual patient safety; erode medical
ethics and trust within the health system; widen health
inequalities; waste much money on attempts to regulate
and manage competition; and undermine the ability of
the health system to respond eff ectively to communicable
disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
While we welcome the emphasis placed on establishing
a closer working relationship between public health and
local government, the proposed reforms will disrupt, fragment,
and weaken the country’s public health capabilities.
The Government claims that the reforms have the
backing of the health professions. They do not. Neither
do they have the public’s support. The Health and Social
Care Bill will erode the NHS’s ethical and cooperative
foundations and will not deliver effi ciency, quality,
fairness, or choice. We ask the House of Lords to reject
passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.” It is, indeed,
time to kill this Bill. ■ The Lancet

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