Will NHS proposals change anything?

WHEN talking to local people, not in the medical profession apart from as patients, the most frequently asked question is – what difference will the Health andSocialCareBillmaketoour National Health Service?

The co-chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association, who is also a member of BMA Council writes: “I believe thatapublicly funded, publicly provided, and publicly accountable NHS is themostcost effectiveandequitable way of delivering healthcare to our population.” This is about defending the NHS from increasing marketisation and privatisation, which will undermine the founding principles of the NHS, leading to increasing healthcare inequalities, reduced access to care, increased healthcare expenditure, and the undermining of medical professionalism and the doctor-patient relationship.

This bill is flawed. The case for radical change has not been made. NHS productivity is increasing and patient satisfaction is at the highest levels ever recorded. Bureaucracy will be increased, not decreased.

The bill lacks professional and public support (YouGov poll). Costs will go up and not down. The service will be fragmented and the transactional nature of the new healthcare market will undermine medical professionalism and the doctor-patient relationship.

The Royal College of Radiologists, voting in the best interests of their patients in radiology and oncology departments and of their fellow clinicians, voted against the Lansley bill and the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of General Practitioners reject it.

Professor Lyndsey Davies, chair of the UK Faculty of Public Health – which has publicly called for withdrawal of the bill – has stated that: “the majority of our members now believe that the Health and Social Care Bill, if passed, will damage the NHSand the health of people in England.”

This leavesMrLansley with a problem as his reform does not have the support of the very people who will be giving patient care in a system in which they do not believe.

We can help them by making their views known and by writing to our MP and to Andrew LansleyMPto express our concerns about this unpopular bill.

Janet King, Bromsgrove Liberal Democrats

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