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

Saturday, 31 July 2010

What's happened to democracy?

We discovered a fortnight ago that Michael Gove would using parliamentary procedures normally reserved for emergency bills like terrorism bills, to push through his academies bill. Now i have just found out that Andrew Lansley's plans to privatise the NHS are being implemented without even a bill being passed.

A key part of Lansley's plans is to abolish PCTs and hand public money over to GPs to commission hospital work. GPs do not have the experience or skills, and many are wary of the diktat that they have to "align clinical decisions with the financial consequences". The NHS White Paper invites comments and the deadline is the 5th October, which is only a month before the Queen's Speech so it seems unlikely that any comments could influence the health bill planned for the autumn.

Now it comes to light that the NHS White Paper is not being treated as a discussion document at all. This is the health bill and Lansleyis treating it as if it has already been passed by Parliament. The following is reported by healthcarerepublic:

In a letter to managers and senior staff, NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson says that all service changes should be signed off by consortia, or other GP representatives if consortia have not yet formed. PCTs will have to amend their proposals if it does not have the support of local GPs.

It is frightening that an extreme right-wing government that failed to get a majority at the 2010 election can change our national institutions without even passing a bill in Parliament.

UPDATE: 02/08/10

Pulse magazine reports that "A quarter of GPs have already entered talks with their PCT on increasing their commissioning responsibilities".

But not every GP is happy:

But Dr Keith Holtom, a GP in Oldbury, West Midlands said: 'Like many of my colleagues I took up medicine and became a GP because I want to treat patients; I have extensive training and expertise in this field.

'I do not however have extensive training in health service management and I most certainly do not relish the prospect of this as I believe that it will mean less time for face to face patient care - and I believe that in a cash strapped NHS the GP will be made a scapegoat as rationing inevitably kicks in.'

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