NHS news review

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A report by the Public Accounts Committee has generated a lot of news. The report raises concerns that there is no healthcare provision in the case of (financial) failure, that ‘reforms’ risk demanded ‘savings’ (cuts) and that they risk patient care. The British Medical Association (BMA) comments on the report.

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

GPs ‘may exploit health reforms to boost pay’ – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

GPs may demand more money before they agree to participate in the Government’s health reforms, ministers have been warned.

Under plans to alter the way the NHS is run, family doctors, many of whom are already earning over £100,000 a year, will be required to form “consortiums” to commission care for their patients.

But ministers have yet to reach agreement with the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, on making the necessary changes to GPs’ contracts to allow the reforms to go ahead. NHS employers have warned this could cost the Government millions of pounds more in unbudgeted costs.

The last time the government renegotiated the GP contract in 2004, it cost £1.76 billion more than was predicted in its first three years while GP productivity fell. “The last time the government negotiated with the GPs it was quite a horrendous exercise,” said David Stout, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation.

“What you have to remember is the GPs are very good at negotiation and the Government’s problem is this: the legislation says that all GPs have to be in these new GP consortiums – but it is not in their contracts. Either the Government chooses to impose this on them or they have to renegotiate and that could be very tricky.”

Fears for NHS services if providers go bust | Society | The Guardian

MPs are demanding that the government urgently put in place plans to ensure vital health services continue if a hospital or other provider goes bust under its NHS reforms.

In a report published on Wednesday, the public accounts committee says the proposals for the NHS do not include details of what will happen if providers fail in the new market model of healthcare provision.

Members of the committee dismissed claims by the most senior civil servant in the Department of Health, Una O’Brien, that the government was “not planning for failure”, and condemned the lack of contingency planning, suggesting that the proposals now pose an intolerable risk to value for money and quality of services.

Richard Bacon, the Conservative MP for South Norfolk, said: “In any organisation as large and complex as the NHS, things can and do go wrong, and the Department of Health has yet to establish a robust framework for dealing with failure in the system. The department must not only understand the danger of either a provider or a commissioner going ‘belly up’, but also toughen up its contingency plans, drawing upon strong, effective and clear chains of governance and accountability throughout the new NHS model.”

NHS Restucturing At Time Of Financial Crisis Is Risky – British Medical Association Comment On PAC Report

In a report published on today, the Committee of Public Accounts has warned that the reorganisation of the NHS in England could “make the challenge of achieving savings for reinvestment even tougher.”

Commenting on the report, Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, said:

“Having already been set the massive challenge of cutting costs by £20 billion, the NHS in England is now facing the most fundamental reorganisation in its history. The Public Accounts Committee is right to highlight the risks posed by such a massive restructuring at a time of financial crisis.

“However, it is not just the timing, but also the direction of travel of these reforms that will cause problems. We share the concerns of the PAC that the consequences of increasing competition in the NHS have not been fully addressed. ‘Market failures’ in healthcare have far more serious consequences than in other industries – and may have little connection with quality of care, or even patient demand.”

BBC News – ‘Radical’ NHS shake-up may jeopardise patient care

The planned shake-up of the NHS in England that will put GPs in charge of buying in services could risk patient care, warns a group of influential MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee says pushing through the changes while seeking £20bn in efficiency savings may damage front-line services.

The concerns follow those of others, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s close adviser Norman Lamb.

BBC News – Berkshire mental health beds move to be investigated

A council is to investigate a provisional decision by the NHS to leave east Berkshire without mental health in-patient services.

It would mean patients from Slough and Maidenhead having to travel up to 20 miles for beds at Reading’s purpose-built Prospect Park Hospital.

Three ideas were consulted on but the NHS trust said a plan to build a new facility in Slough was too expensive.

Slough council has set up a working group to look into the decision.

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which is trying to save £12m over the next three years, said it was working on a plan to put aside £100,000 a year for travel costs.

Permanent Revolution – MARCH TO SAVE THE NHS

Kill Lansley’s Bill


Tuesday 17 May

5.30pm Assemble UCH Gower St

6pm March to Whitehall

Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill threatens to break up our health service and hand it to private healthcare companies.

The Bill would open up the entire health service to the private sector and as private companies calculate how much profit is to be made, 50000 NHS jobs are being cut and front line services are under threat.

The government has now been forced to retreat in the face of a huge groundswell of nationwide opposition. Cameron and Clegg had to intervene to “pause, listen, reflect and improve” the plans, but it is clear they only plan minor cosmetic changes.

We have to seize this opportunity to step up public opposition to demand the Bill is dropped and to force the government to really listen. Our NHS is precious and these plans will destroy it. We appeal to everyone to join us on 17 May and to speak out against these threats in what ever way they can.


27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

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