Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Murdoch gets a pie in the face and we all forget about what else the Tories are doing

Namely, forging ahead with their plans for privatising the NHS.  The following is crossposted from here:


The government will open up more than £1bn of NHS services to competition from private companies and charities, the health secretary announced on Tuesday, increasing fears that it will inevitably lead to the "privatisation of the health service".

In the first wave, beginning next April, eight NHS areas – including musculoskeletal services for back pain, adult hearing services in the community, wheelchair services for children and primary care psychological therapies for adults – will be open for "competition on quality not price".

If successful, the policy, known as "any qualified provider", would see non-NHS bodies allowed from 2013 to deliver more complicated clinical services in maternity and "home chemotherapy".
Andrew Lansley – admitting that the government's initial plans for competition in the NHS were too ambitious, and stung by criticism from Steve Field, the senior doctor called in by David Cameron to review the reforms, that the proposals were "unworkable" – has slowed down the rollout of competition.
The health secretary said his plans would now "enable patients to choose [providers] ... where this will lead to better care".

Labour questioned the policy, which the shadow health secretary John Healey said was "not about giving more control to patients, but setting up a full-scale market."

His colleague Emily Thornberry, the party's health spokeswoman, added that "today is a good day to announce the policy because everyone is preoccupied with telephone hacking. (They) hope no one will notice it". This theme was picked up on Twitter with a stream of comments about "it being a good day to bury bad news".

Critics warned of "huge dangers lurking in the plans". The trade union Unison said that "patients will be little more than consumers, as the NHS becomes a market-driven service, with profits first and patients second. And they could be left without the services they need as forward planning in the NHS becomes impossible."

A spokesman for the British Medical Association questioned "the assumption that increasing competition will always mean improving choice. The ultimate consequence of market failure in the NHS is the closure of services, restricting the choice of patients who would have wished to use them."

The Department of Health dismissed these charges and argued the policy would benefit patients by bringing many services out of hospitals, which would make it easier to access healthcare. As an example the policy could lead to patients being able to walk into a retailer on the high street or local GP's surgery for a blood test rather than being forced to go to hospital.

One of the new policy's aims is to promote innovation, highlighting the "Tony Blair example". Abnormal heart rhythms, such as those suffered by Tony Blair, no longer need the immediate attention of a cardiologist. Instead, a concerned patient could today be treated by using the telephone to measure the heart beats and give an instant diagnosis, followed by a call from a nurse advising on whether the patient needed to go to hospital or not.

He said the former prime minister's abnormal heart rhythms could today be treated by using the telephone to measure the heartbeats and give an instant diagnosis, followed by a call from a nurse advising on whether the patient needed to go to hospital or not. "You could cut dramatically the number of hospital admissions like this."

There were also major savings that could be made. The department cited the example of chronic leg wounds, where the NHS pays out £18,000 per patient over four years, often without curing them.
One not-for-profit company – Wound Healing Centre in Sussex – manages to treat patients successfully for £720.

Lansley's commissioning tsar, Dame Barbara Hakin, said the NHS must push ahead with the agenda to offer patients more choice despite the financial challenges and the period of "significant transition". The NHS must save £20bn over the next four years in efficiencies.


Screw you David Cameron.  I don't know how you sleep at night, you insipid, cowardly, greedy bastard.

No comments: