"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Reactions to the NHS White Paper

This is an interesting article from the Northern Echo.

Professor David Hunter, who holds a chair in health policy and management at Durham University says:

"There will be no experiments, no pilots, just the whole NHS system put into freefall ... [it is] a scorched earth policy ... [the white paper gives the] impression that the plans are the result of some back-of-the-envelope thinking, you do get that impression because, at the moment, it doesn’t really add up"

He also fears that setting up 500 GP consortia: "with at least half a dozen people managing the back office functions in every group", will end up costing the NHS a lot of money.

"Will these managers go directly into the consortia from the PCT or SHA, or will they be paid off by the NHS, nip off to the private sector and then sell their skills back to the Health Service? ... There are a lot of big American and European companies who are sniffing around and are incredibly enthusiastic about what is happening."

Prof Hunter says that NHS managers are left feeling "like being on the bridge of the Titanic" and he believes many must be considering jumping ship before the PCTs and SHAs sink beneath them. He fears the new health team in Whitehall could be making a huge mistake.

"Everybody’s health is at stake and the whole basis of the NHS could be undermined ... we could end up with a shell organisation with the NHS brand and nothing behind it"

Professor Alan Maynard, who holds a chair in health economics at Nottingham University sums up the gung-ho approach adopted by Mr Lansley as like "jumping off a cliff" into the unknown, he warns that the high-speed reforms being pushed through without any attempt to evaluate their success involved "potential risks" for the NHS.

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