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Lord Darzi tasked to lead investigation into ‘state of the NHS’

Lord Darzi tasked to lead investigation into ‘state of the NHS’

The health secretary has announced an ‘independent investigation’ into the ‘state of the NHS’, to be led by Professor Lord Ara Darzi. 

The findings of this ‘rapid’ investigation, which will be published in September, will feed into a new 10-year plan ‘to radically reform’ the NHS, for which patients and staff will be consulted ‘soon’.

Writing for The Sun yesterday, Wes Streeting repeated his claim that the NHS is ‘broken’ and said an investigation is needed to ‘diagnose the problem’.

Lord Darzi, a former Labour minister who Mr Streeting described as a ‘one of the NHS’s leading experts’, has been asked to produce a ‘raw and honest assessment’ of the state of the NHS.

The health secretary said the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have been ‘instructed’ to share ‘whatever information’ Lord Darzi needs. 

He argued that ‘sticking-plasters’ will not fix the NHS, and rather ‘fundamental reform’ is required. 

The 10-year plan will be led by Sally Warren, who will be leaving her position as policy director at the King’s Fund, a leading health think tank, to join DHSC.

During his time as health minister, Lord Darzi led an influential national review of the NHS, High Quality Care for All, which aimed to improve accountability in clinical practice. 

He also worked on Labour’s GP ‘polyclinic’ model – known as Darzi centres – which was later scrapped by the Coalition Government.

One of Labour’s manifesto promises was to trial ‘neighbourhood health centres’, which seem to resemble the Darzi model, with the aim of improving out-of-hospital care. 

Lord Darzi, a surgeon who holds the Paul Hamlyn chair of surgery at Imperial College London, has also previously argued that the GP partnership model is out of date and that GP services should be brought ‘into the fold’ to ‘finally complete the NHS’.

In a statement today, Mr Streeting promised that the Government ‘will be honest about the challenges facing the health service’. 

He continued: ‘This investigation will uncover hard truths and I’ve asked for nothing to be held back. I trust Lord Darzi will leave no stone unturned and have told him to speak truth to power. 

‘I want a raw and frank assessment of the state of the NHS. This is the necessary first step on the road to recovery for our National Health Service, so it can be there for us when we need it, once again.’

Lord Darzi said that the ‘first step’ to tackling any health problem is to establish a ‘proper diagnosis’, and that this investigation will help to reinstate ‘quality of care as the organising principle of the NHS’.

‘My work will analyse the evidence to understand where we are today – and how we got to here – so that the health service can move forward,’ he added.

Earlier this week, the new health secretary committed to reversing the underfunding of general practice, in his first policy announcement.

And he met with the BMA’s junior doctors committee to reopen talks in a bid to bring an end to strike action.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dylan Summers 11 July, 2024 11:58 am

Lord Darzi said that the ‘first step’ to tackling any health problem is to establish a ‘proper diagnosis’

Correct no doubt, but surely the NHS represents a classic “undifferentiated presentation”? The sort of thing best diagnosed by a generalist rather than a specialist in robotic surgery?

Bonglim Bong 11 July, 2024 12:18 pm

Lord Darzi is perhaps the worst choice for this job. He has a hosptial centric view on healthcare, with pre-existing ideas which he looks to defend rather than being open minded about different solutions. It needs to be balanced by someone looking at the NHS from a community point of view, who understands the benefits of high quality community health care and values the role of continuity of care. He also has ideas based on everyone living in reasonably urban areas, forgetting the large populations that live in rural areas.

I can write the summary of his review already
Large community hubs
Run by nhs trusts
Where patients are processed like numbers
And the cheapest least skilled individuals can do the ‘easy’ job of being a GP, totally missing that it is a false economy. And none of his ideas will have any continuity of care.

And then Darzi’s plan will fail again just like it did last time.

Simon Gilbert 11 July, 2024 12:24 pm

Presumably this no holds bar investigation will look into how the systems with consistently better performing OECD outcomes are arranged and funded, even if that means moving away from a centrally state controlled system to something like parts of Europe?

Janice Patrick 11 July, 2024 12:25 pm

So Mr Streeting was quoted within the last week stating“We are committed to bringing back the family doctor, so patients can see the same doctor each appointment, fixing the front door to the NHS.”
Why then choose some-one who felt that fragmenting primary care was the answer.
Seems like a masterclass in how to break an electoral promise within the first week

Some Bloke 11 July, 2024 1:01 pm

oh dear… not him again. he is absolutely the worst man for the job

Here We Go Again 11 July, 2024 1:10 pm

Not Darci again. He messed it up when his chum Blair was in charge.

So the bird flew away 11 July, 2024 1:28 pm

This strategy of only now having an “independent investigation” when GP is on its knees (why didn’t he save time and do this investigation during the 2 years as shadow sec?) smells like a foregone “diagnosis” of business as usual (especially backed by Tony Blair Institute’s neoliberal attitude to all public goods).
Alan NHSburn and now Lord Dozey! Streeting’s sending the wrong signals.

Richard Greenway 11 July, 2024 1:58 pm

Mr Darzi wouldn’t be my choice. We know he doesn’t like the Partnership Model. But to get rid of it will cost a huge amount of money buying back premises, taking over employment responsibilities, changing financial entities. It would be a lot cheaper to prop up existing Partners before they all leave.

Rogue 1 11 July, 2024 2:22 pm

Well if it is hospital centric, the referrals will go up – then thats another election promise broken

Scottish GP 11 July, 2024 2:36 pm

I know let’s have Darzi centres that we for very good reasons closed.. The signs are not good here☹️

Paul Hartley 11 July, 2024 4:57 pm

No, not Darzi again!

Brian Kerr 11 July, 2024 5:45 pm

What about bringing pharmacists into the fold. The nhs spends a huge amount ( reflected in the average price of a pharmacy license shop being £2m) on something that could easily be done in house by the nhs . Instead we pay out millions so daft we shops can profit.

Northern Trainer 11 July, 2024 6:29 pm

I can not write what I think – not because pulse will take it down but simply because I do not have the words.

Peter Jones 11 July, 2024 6:40 pm

Terrible start by Streeting. Darzi’s previous ideas for “Darzi hubs’ were a dismal failure. He is a surgeon who has absolutely no idea about General Practice and the value of the Partnership model and continuity of care. Awful prospect.

stephen friel 11 July, 2024 6:51 pm

Does anyone remember the panorama doc featuring darzi years ago? The most striking scene was his ward round conducted remotely via a TV screen on a robot wandering round the ward by itself. This is the guy the government thinks is best to cure the ills of general practice.

Brian Kerr 11 July, 2024 7:26 pm

What about bringing pharmacists into the nhs family instead of paying ludicrous amounts to them for running shops that do little more put labels on boxes and place in a bag. Total waste of resources. Average pharmacy shop with license £2m

S H Ko 11 July, 2024 8:05 pm

Like many here, I cannot understand why this is allowed to happen again. It was a disaster the last time round

Truth Finder 12 July, 2024 9:25 am

The Darzi centers closed for good reason but here we go again. They should get a GP who knows about community care.

Turn out The Lights 12 July, 2024 9:29 am

Definition of madness doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.This blokes a surgeon ,he wont of learnt from his last money wasting shart.More of the same madness!

David Turner 12 July, 2024 9:38 am

oh no, not him again.

Grant Ingrams 13 July, 2024 11:33 am

Following Lord Darzi’s previous review he admitted that he did not understand general practice and that part of the report was written by the DoH. The result was Darzi Centres and WIC. The centres has caused the significant problem with excessive costs for practices (when we did FoI locally the centres cost 5x more per patient than other practices) and the WiCs slowly closed and a Kings Fund review found that they had no impact on capacity and no difference in healthcare. An expensive waste of time that needs to be avoided this time.

Anthony Roberts 13 July, 2024 2:36 pm

Inability to manage a PU in a brewery very swiftly comes to mind.

SUBHASH BHATT 13 July, 2024 5:05 pm

Lord darzi is a hospital consultant .
Hr needs to have gps , practice nurses , practice managers and some patients to advise him. Gps can advise how to improve access and patients can advise on what improvements are needed in primary care and secondary care. .

A B 17 July, 2024 10:57 am

Well the NHS is basically a liver right, and you need to look at it all from an hepatic perspective. Preferably a secondhand/used hepatic perspective with an interest in politics and titles. This is it all in a nut shell. A broken nut shell. Fragmented and in pieces, from the last time, like before.

Dave Haddock 18 July, 2024 7:39 am

Having failed to completely destroy GP last time, he’s back to try and finish the job.
Difficult to imagine a more toxic choice.