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Reforms 'threaten future of NHS'

  • 12 Comments

Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms pose a “horrific” threat to the future of “the best public service in the world”, the government’s former heart tsar has warned.

Professor Roger Boyle, who retired as the government’s national director of heart disease and stroke this month, said the plans will increase costs, create more bureaucracy and destroy key relationships that make the health service work.

In an interview with The Independent, the senior doctor called for “evolution, not revolution”, attacking Mr Lansley for ignoring the NHS’s past successes in his bid to open it up to private contractors.

“Competition means more providers, which means more contracts have to be placed, which means transactional costs rise,” the professor said.

“The allegiances (of the private companies) will be to their shareholders not to the users of the services. We have already spent £1bn on redundancy payments. Is that value for money?”

Professor Boyle, who was appointed as the Department of Health’s senior heart specialist in March 2000, added: “If the market was going to work the Americans would have cracked it.

“My 91-year-old American mother-in-law (who lives in Florida) has to fill in a 150 page form each year for her health insurance and then more forms each time she makes a claim.

“I favour evolution, not revolution. We could have got to the same point without this huge disruption.

“Everything has effectively stopped (while the reforms are thrashed out) except the focus on saving cash - it is very unsettling.”

Professor Boyle described Mr Lansley’s modernisation plans as “the ideas of one man acting without an electoral mandate”.

Health minister Simon Burns said the reforms had widespread support from the future forum and would give “freedom and control to doctors, nurses and frontline professionals”.

“Modernising the NHS will both safeguard the future of our health service, and will deliver a world class health service that puts patients at the heart of everything it does,” he added.

“Choosing to ignore the pressures our NHS faces threatens the very values we hold so dear - of a comprehensive health service, available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not the ability to pay. We will not allow that to happen.”

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • does not matter who is against these reforms..they will go ahead no matter what

    all the tories are interested in is privatising everything they can and the nhs is the biggest one...puppets of thatcher all of them

    rip the nhs!

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  • tinkerbell

    “Choosing to ignore the pressures our NHS faces threatens the very values we hold so dear - of a comprehensive health service, available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not the ability to pay. We will not allow that to happen.”

    How can anyone believe a word they say when they said they would not cut back frontline staff, and who are the first to go, frontline staff. Well done Profesor Boyle for speaking up, but they are not going to listen to the likes of you or us who are doing the job, we're the ones they're hoping to save money on!

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  • the problem with british governments is that they waste resources in their attempts to patch up things instead of putting good infrastructures in place first so that it costs everybody dear and especially those who can least afford it or they have to pay by compromising their health.

    it is just like the campaign they had many years ago to get everybody out of their cars onto public transport which was a total failure.

    had they been intelligent they would have reinforced and updated their services first to make them a more attractive option to the public than using their cars.

    but none of that, people were expected to pay high prices for the tickets and hang around in the rain and cold waiting for over full and dilapidated buses and trains which failed to get them to their destinations on time. such services, at least in my large town, have never improved, the timetables are never complete or up to date and the majority of the drivers are surly and rude if you ask them any questions and more often than not do not have an answer. travel around europe and you usually get a friendly greeting from the personnel on public transport, or visit a GP or hospitial and the level of service is incomparable with that in the UK and you usually get excellent advice and proper answers to your questions with a smile by smart looking professionals who understand the meaning of the word 'service', as well as value for that dirty word, in healthcare 'money' but then they are provided with good working conditions, so that their first preoccupation is their patients and not with meeting government or organisational imposed targets!

    Until the UK government are prepared to spend a little of their money and set up decent infrastructures expected of a modern country health service provision may only improve in some areas but will never be affordable and accessible to all.

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  • I have seen the worst and the best of the NHS, in 30 yrs, Mrs Thatcher being the worst, under her we increased bed occupancy,decreased spending on in house services and subsequently payed the ultimate price with MRSA, to name but one. We are just getting to the point that we have an excellent but far from perfect health service and know rather than encourageing much need integration, they are proposing disisntegration by putting essential services out to contract! Dont we ever learn by our past experiences in health care reform, if it aint broken dont fix it

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  • Some additional reading for people interested:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/27/gps-health-and-social-care-bill

    http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/nhs-foundation-trust-scrutiny

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/22/nhs-still-at-risk?CMP=twt_gu

    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/newsarticle-content/-/article_display_list/12451387/gerada-health-bill-should-be-amended-again-or-withdrawn

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  • Absolutely agree, but I'm afraid it's all over for the NHS because these plans will go ahead anyway regardless. Then we will get another raft of useless changes that the government will force through regardless. We will suffer through them for another decade, in which time health care in this country will become abysmal, another government (doesn't matter which party, they are all as equally self serving) will come in and bring in a whole new raft of changes yet again in an attempt to 'fix' things, but it will be far too late.

    RIP NHS.

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  • Come on Mike! Keep voicing and lobbying the MP's, no plus size ladies singing yet!! Have you not seen Enigma?

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  • The NHS is already unrecognisable from it's original concept, especially working within it. Patients still get 'free treatment', but certain conditions are being excluded from treatment, in particular surgery. On both sides of the fence, it has become a 'blame culture', even though the opposite has been preached to us, professionals and public alike. Whatever happened to the period of listening? It's a shame that once eminent people of influence only feel really free to say what they believe in once out of the service/government. None of us like to rock the boat, because of the repercussions. I have often thought that I can say it like it is, once I retire. Again, that is too little too late. We need solidarity, the odd blog here and there is having no impact at all.

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  • Cut all the red tape, just get more bodies on the shop floor doing the caring not sat behind desks.Simples.

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  • The best NHS reform criticism on the web:

    http://abetternhs.wordpress.com/the-best/

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