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People are taking to the streets to fight for their health service, while David Cameron no longer considers it a priority.

People are taking to the streets to fight for their health service, while David Cameron no longer considers it a priority.

There’s an interesting (and lengthy) article on Tax Research UK in which Richard Murphy recounts his own opinions and those of his GP wife on the current situation in the NHS.

It seems she reckons the Royal College of General Practitioners has given up on its dream of providing an ideal service to everyone in the UK, because:

  • Government pressure has made it impossible. It seems rules brought in under Labour meant doctors were paid for preventative appointments and now, if they don’t carry them out, they lose income. Budgets are already being cut so staff are being cut and resources for the ill are being cut dramatically.
  • It is no longer possible to fit people into the ideal GP consultation of 12 minutes – there are too many for that. So they have given up on performing well and are concentrating on performing as well as possible.
  • And GPs in England have been set in opposition to hospitals. Circle Health failed at Hinchingbrooke because the company thought it was going to drag NHS resources away from GPs through the local Clinical Commissioning Group. It didn’t happen because the GPs on the CCG dragged the resources back [be warned: this might not happen in all CCGs, depending on the influence of private healthcare representatives on them].

It is worth quoting what Mr Murphy states in relation to the last point: “All competition is predicated on the idea that failure is not just possible but desirable and failure is what we get as a result. But the cost of failure in this case is real human suffering.”

He takes a different route to the same conclusions, saying:

  • The capacity to manage crisis no longer exists. All systems require back ups and alternatives to ensure that failure can be accommodated but, after years of pressure for cuts those alternatives have been deemed wasteful and eliminated: “It’s about guaranteeing failure to meet peek demand, and that is what is happening now in the NHS because a market language where failure can occur has, again, been applied to a public service where failure to supply is unacceptable.”
  • The public has changed, and the health market has not encouraged choice or judgement. It seems to have created total dependence where people wish to accept no responsibility for themselves.
  • There is a failure to recognise that if this is what people want then they have to be supplied with it – and be charged the tax that pays for it. People are making choices: politicians would be wise to follow their demand, increase spending, increase tax and keep people happy.

The conclusion:  “It is inevitable that health systems need re-design, again.

“The idea of re-organising the NHS seems deeply unpalatable but Lansley’s disastrous legacy, for which he has already been consigned to the wilderness, cannot survive. The NHS has to become national, again. And it has to ensure all current health needs are met as a priority. And service has to be at its core – and that does not leave room for profit.”

The full article is on Tax Research UK. It is long, but rewarding for those who don’t have a right-wing ideological agenda and can therefore process the arguments presented therein.

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