I’ve spent my life working for the NHS as a doctor, a GP and as a PCT chair, as well as for the BMA for the last 30 years.
I am extremely proud to be an advocate of patients according to clinical need, not ability to pay. That is the underlying ethos of the overwhelming majority of doctors in this country. It is why most of us spent years slogging in medical school, inspired by being able to practise in a health system representing social justice. It is the foundation of the NHS – an NHS that still boasts a 90% satisfaction rate among those who have been treated by it.
Now Mr Lansley wants to change all that with the introduction of his ideologically driven health bill.
Recently the British Medical Journal, Health Service Journal and Nursing Times published a joint editorial that said reorganisation has ‘destabilised and damaged one of this country’s greatest achievements – a system that embeds social justice and has delivered widespread public satisfaction public support and value for money’. The editorial predicted the changes would be so destructive another reorganisation would be needed within five years.
Mr Cameron may run, but he can’t hide from the reality – that these are his reforms, that he has resolutely stuck by them, and that he is ignoring pretty much everyone who cares about the NHS in efusing to kill the bill.
The projected cost of the reorganisation is £3bn, which is money that is drawn away from frontline provision of care. Professor Kieran Walshe, professor of health policy and management at Manchester Business School, believes abandoning the Bill now would save just over £1 billion by allowing NHS organisations to focus on improving efficiency and productivity – without the added administrative costs of creating new layers of bureaucracy.
The NHS is far too important to be left at the mercy of ideological and incompetent intervention. I agree with RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada that in essence this bill is a burden.
It makes no sense. It’s incoherent to anybody other than the lawyers. It won’t deal with the big issues that we have to deal with such as the aging population and dementia. It will result in a very expensive health service and it will also result in a health service that certainly will never match the NHS that we have at the moment.
I believe these are the wrong reforms at the wrong time and I am passionately opposed to the bill. If you agree with me, I’d ask you to help by signing the e-petition which I launched last year.
If we get 100,000 signatures, it will force a debate in Parliament – and Number 10 will surely finally be forced to listen and drop the bill.
Dr Kailash Chand OBE is a GP and chair of NHS Tameside and Glossop