The government is to publish details of the biggest planned overhaul of the NHS in England
Having fought the election on a platform to reform the NHS, the coalition Government seems on course to upset even those who acknowledge ‘something must be done’ about our health services.
The Health and Social Care Bill, which will be laid before Parliament later, paves the way for GPs to get control of most of the NHS budget by 2013.
Unions warn the plans could undermine the health service, while MPs say they have taken the NHS by “surprise”.
But having set out their stall, Cameron, Lansley and everyone at the Dept. Health argue that changes will improve services.
Unless you get these officials away from their office, and as one admitted to me last week, “we are very unhappy”.
Anyone who runs a business looks around their NHS hospital and almost certainly notices where NHS money is being wasted. But instead of throwing out good and bad systems together willy nilly, in a massive nationwide reorganisation schedule, why on earth don’t Hospitals consult their patients who bother to sign up for ‘Foundation Trust Membership’, and ask them where cuts could be made?
The way the change is going to happen now is already providing concern amongst staff = worried about their jobs = less attention to patients whilst they wonder if they are going to have a job soon.
If you are waiting to see your GP, or for tests, or even for an operation, reports from all over country are saying that waiting lists are getting longer.
And the NHS Confederation warns that hospitals could go bust as the plans include opening up the NHS to “any willing provider”.
The BBC quotes Dr Helena McKeown, a GP based in Wiltshire, describing herself as a sceptic. She believes one danger is that consortia may decide that some of the more marginal services are not a priority for funding. “Patients could see local bunion services go, for example, or orthodontics.”
She is absolutely right – I have already been told this by my local NHS GP’s surgery in central London.
She also fears local hospitals could be hit as private sector providers look to win more NHS contracts. She gives the example of ophthalmology departments which rely on cataract operations as a vital source of income and an area for eye surgeons to gain experience for more complex work.
“Private firms will want the cataracts as they are less risky and less complex, but the consequence of that is the local hospital department could suffer.
Again – I have to have regular eye tests with dye drops. As I also have an eye ulcer, I need anaesthetic drops first. The company that has just taken over this service (previously run very efficiently by Sally – a senior nurse) ‘forgot’ to include anaesthetic drops in their costings. Result is I have to have test done by doctor – what extra cost is that?
Ministers point out that more than 140 groups of GPs have put themselves forward for the pilots. In the words of a certain ‘lady’, “they would, wouldn’t they?” There is obviously money to be made there.
And Peter Carter, of the Royal College of Nursing, says: “This reform programme could come off the rails, as people concentrate on saving money rather than delivering quality care.”