© Photographer Juha Tuomi Agency: Dreamstime.com
The Government’s NHS Bill is causing more unrest than any other bill I can remember…and yet it appears that it’s being pushed through far too quickly for something as important as this, leaving outsiders and insiders alike feeling railroaded.
The recorded aims of the Bill is to: create an Independent NHS Board; promote patient choice; and reduce NHS costs seem reasonable; so what’s going wrong?
Firstly, Mr Lansley’s approach to consultation has yet again got stakeholders’ backs up. The Government seems to have learned nothing from the last major upheaval following the formation of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in April 2005. By August of that year, health sector bodies were complaining about the lack of consultation, an issue which dogged the life of the Programme and made every change unpopular with front line staff regardless of its expected benefits.
And now history is repeating itself…the latest news is that David Cameron has organised a summit with healthcare professionals to discuss how to implement the reforms excluding his critics. Press reports say that some of the Royal Colleges such as the Royal College of General Practitioners have been excluded.
In life, most successful people learn that it is better to engage with their dissenters and work through the issues patiently and methodically…or face challenge at every step. Half-hearted attempts to “listen” won’t cut it, especially where an institution as precious as the NHS is concerned.
The Government have already had one “pause for thought” and are saying that they are not planning a second indicating that they will be pressing on with what seems to be the most unpopular reform to hit the NHS…even in the light of an e-petition on the government website attaining 120,000 signatories calling for the bill to be dropped.
Secondly, what are we all missing in the small print? I have been hearing the arguments for and against, but I am now beginning to feel uneasy enough to see for myself. I thought I’d have my own reading of the Bill, which seemed like a good idea, except that the bill has over 350 pages, containing over 280 clauses. Not many people will have read the Bill and I doubt whether those voting on it will have put in the time and effort to understand the consequences of its reforms.
My suspicions have increased…in situations like this my key thought is “follow the money”…who will be benefiting financially from this? Is that why it needs to be so complicated?
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be reporting on my findings.
Watch this space.
I agree with Joy Gunter. In York there are a wide range of health retlaed voluntary organisations under the broad aegis of the Council for Voluntary Service. Dedicated members with wide personal knowledge of all aspects of health care, disease and disability are active in local government and NHS provider services. They contribute both formal and informal informed public and patient input, and when listened to and heard, ensure that the System works to the benefit of the community.Under the Lansley Plan many of the existing opportunities for involvement will be lost. His protestations of bottom up involvement are valueless as he does not comprehend that those with personal knowledge and experience may have the answers the bureaucrat lacks.
Entusting commissioning rslionsibpeity to GPs is not a wise move. It appears the politicians have received a revelation that GPs are best suited for this role. Please do not forget what fundholding lead to. No doubt GPs have the best knowledge on patients’ needs but many lack the business accumen for commissioning. They can play a key role in an advisory capacity if only politicians will be humble enough to take their advice. Unfortunately idiological differences between parties will ignore any valuable advices given. Most GPs will accept commissioning only as a survival exercise. Basically GPs are clinicians and will need to compromise their time to fulfill the new role or employ administrators. Why is it not possible for a Corporation to be created for commissioning? This will ease the regular political interference which at present is a seesaw exercise.
Nice article Gayna – whilst I am not a great supporter of our unelected House of Lords they do on this occasion seem to have held it up long enough to get a great deal of publicity if not some real action. Complexity very definitely appears to be muddying the waters.
I have worked for both the NHS and a pravite organisation funded by the NHS to carry out NHS mental health services. I have grave concerns about pravite organisations being paid by the NHS to make money and therefore they penny pinch at every opportunity giving a poor quality service, even if the clients don’t see this as much as staff. Staff retention, terms and conditions and morale are very poor. The ethos of the work is lost entirely and people with no understanding of the health care sector are employed also, it is very worrying. My concern is not for the GP’s to make the decisions, it’s whether contracts are commissioned out purely to save money. I have been there and it does not work!