The health bill has clearly polarised opinion.
At a recent event, about 100 doctors were asked if they understood the bill. Fewer than 10 put their hands up. Yet when asked whether they agreed with the bill, more than half said they didn’t. I think that says a lot.
It is clear to me that the bill has not been explained well and the Government needs to do more to articulate its benefits.
Doctors, in particular GPs, are at the forefront of the changes. They will have considerable power – if they are worried about integration and ‘privatisation’, then they should ensure they commission to guard against the downsides.
As for any qualified provider, I doubt hundreds of providers will spring up, as providers are not going to risk considerable hassle and costs if there is little guarantee of an income. Similarly, clinicians are not going to be easy to recruit on that basis.
In the end, whatever the rights and wrongs of the bill, it is not about us – but about patients. Sometimes, having competition, rather than a monolithic state provider, is a good thing, as many GP practices already demonstrate.
From Dr Paul Charlson, Brough, East Yorkshire, Chair, Conservative Health