The Coalition Government's health reforms are reckless. The Conservatives promised an end to continuous structural change, yet this is the 'biggest revolution in the NHS for 60 years'.
The NHS is being forced to make unprecedented savings, yet crazy market reforms costing as much as £3 billion are being forced on our health services. Even the right-wing think tank Civitas are deeply concerned about the proposals: "The NHS is facing the most difficult financial times in its history. Now is not the time for ripping up internal structures yet again on scant evidence base."
Virtually all medical organisations have concerns. The Health Service Journal estimate this new model could cost £1.2 billion more each year. These untested changes will waste money, increase profits to private companies, create postcode inequalities and increase bureaucracy and inefficiency.
Shockingly McDonald's and PepsiCo, whose aim is to maximise profit, are now helping to write UK health policy. Do we really trust the food industry to regulate itself? This is like putting the tobacco industry in charge of smoke-free spaces. The food industry has a terrible record on issues like obesity. This is more big business than 'big society'.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is to go, yet their role in selecting only cost-effective treatments means the Government are unrealistically offering a health service without limits. Nice made NHS rationing explicit and transparent. It wasn't always right but it was public. Patients, will I am sure, be keen to ask their GPs how their budget constraints will be effecting their care.
Given expenditure levels, the NHS compared to other countries, is not as bad as we are led to think. Improvements can be made but these Conservative/Lib Dem reforms are not the way to go. Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward
"We believe the plans for free choice of GP practice will be damaging in terms of continuity of care, health inequalities and, potentially, patient safety." RCGP
"A market-based approach risks fragmentation, inefficiency and increased transaction costs." BMA
"We are gravely concerned that the Government takes little or no account of the potential impact on disadvantaged or disengaged individuals or communities.”RCN
"After analysing the proposed new system, we have identified significant risks, worrying uncertainties and unexploited opportunities." NHS Confederation
"We question a fundamental reorganisation, when evidence shows that health outcomes and public satisfaction have improved in recent years." The King's Fund
"At best this will be a waste of time, at worst a waste of money." The Social Market Foundation