We were right!
King’s Fund think tank says the coalition government’s changes wasted three years, failed patients, caused financial distress and left a strategic vacuum.
But Labour# efforts before last election hadn’t gained praise either.
So why do we need Politicians running OUR Health Service?
Who are the King’s Fund?
They are a very influential, independent health charity. Their press releases gain a huge amount of attention, and today their latest was top story on BBC and other media.
The report says “behind-the-scenes changes may not have been immediately apparent to patients …..”. Even though they were described by NHS leaders as “so big you could see them from space”.
Why worry – it’s only public money !
Media were making informed guesses as to how much Lansley’s reforms had cost – no-one knows, but it it is in BILLIONS – all money that would have been better spent on patient care.
The report says: “A set of policies designed to Patients end up with longer waiting times, postponed ops., botched treatment etc.
One of the reforms had been the abolishing of many NHS organisations, paying off senior staff, organising redundancy packages, then immediately re-hiring them. With the aim to shift the balance of power in the NHS to give GPs more say over the way budgets were spent.
In our area this meant CCG (Clinical Commissioning Groups with doctors in charge) choosing private companies to run local hospital services such as imaging and physiotherapy. However, this wasn’t the GP’s expertise, and local hospital services were giving appalling service to patients.
King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham told the BBC: “People in the NHS focused on rearranging the deckchairs rather than the core business of improving patient care…… . contributed to the increasing waiting times and declining performance that patients are experiencing.”
They warned us
Dr. Clive Peedell, co-leader of the National Health Action Party,(NHA) had warned about what was going to heppen. He said this week that the NHA “was launched in 2012 specifically in opposition to Government’s intended reforms”.
Complain when things go wrong?
The Patients’ Association calls this the Complaints Game, and anyone who has gone through this will know that there has been an increase in legal experts that help organisations fend off complaints – until eventually patients give up.
Warning pre-election, the report said: “If there is one clear message from the experience of the past five years, it is that politicians of all parties should be wary of ever again embarking on top-down restructuring of the NHS.”
There was also criticism of Labour, who, the King’s Fund says, is “crying wolf” with “ill-founded” claims about the NHS being privatised.
But not to worry – a spokesman for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We welcome the King’s Fund’s recognition that the government’s focus on patient safety and integrated care is right for the NHS’s future”.
You couldn’t get away with it if you worked for a private company, but the problems aren’t important enough for Hunt to come out of his bunker and talk about these himself.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the report was “independent authoritative evidence” that the concerns Labour raised when the changes were introduced had been valid ……plunged the NHS into the chaos we see today”. But they started a lot of the rot.
Senior clinicians in NHS, BMA, etc. had warned of consequences, as Dr Mark Porter, head of the British Medical Association (BMA) said, the changes were “opposed by patients, the public and NHS staff, but politicians pushed through the changes regardless”.
“The damage done to the NHS has been profound and intense, but what is needed now is an honest and frank debate over how we can put right what has gone wrong without the need for another unnecessary and costly top-down reorganisation.”
BUT WILL THEY EVER LEARN?
It’s doubtful, so that’s why you should prepare to fight for better care in advance of actually needing the dumbed-down services NHS reforms are offering us. As one of my favourite Oncologists told me, “those patients who make the biggest fuss get the best outcomes”. And don’t worry about upsetting medics; you pay for the NHS – you are entitled to correct care.