Sunday, 21 November 2010

"The end of the NHS as we currently know it"

In a passionate attack on Tory health policy, the new Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners has joined almost every other major independent health group in criticising both the speed and scope of Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms.

The strength of this latest attack is striking, not least as such individuals normally couch their arguments in more restrained language. However, this intervention is certainly welcome. The Tories' dramatic health care reforms weren't even hinted at prior to the election, and the effects of the reform will almost certainly see the privatisation of both health care delivery and increasingly health care commissioning. It is, without a doubt, the beginning of the end of the National Health Service.

NHS - Efficient and fair and accessible

Meanwhile, yet again, the independent Commonwealth Fund have given a glowing report on the NHS, something this blog has covered before. In the latest report, predictably ignored by the bulk of the UK press, the NHS performs favourably against other leading industrialised health care systems, including the US, Norway and Canada, in terms of the speed of access to medical care and cost effectiveness.

Once again scoring highly on efficiency, the UK  is also singled out as the only industrialised nation where wealth is not a key determining factor in access to medical care. It is, quite simply, the fairest of health system of those included in the survey.

Yet this report will certainly be ignored, for a common theme of the Coalition's unfolding policy programme is this: an ideological zeal to cut back the state trumps evidence and rational argument every time.

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