Healthcare and Policing
NHS failings, including many which affect the day to day care of sick people, have been all too prominent in the UK. They have raised serious concerns about the standards of care in our hospitals and led to a number of official inquiries and recommendations. They have prompted questions about the structures for accountability, the system for investigating concerns and, not least, staffing levels.
The Lansley Bill may not be perfect, but it recognises what the direction of travel must be: towards a mixed market solution. If the health service is to catch up with the systems we now envy, it's time to move, says Tony Hockley, author of A Premium on Patients: Funding the Future of the NHS.
Now is a very bad time to embark on major reform of the NHS. Sadly there is also no better time ahead. Delay will only make the need more urgent.
The years of plenty for the NHS are behind us, and the price must now be paid for the failure to combine a once-in-a-lifetime NHS funding surge with essential health system reform.
Since the 1980s the new direction of travel for the NHS has been clear: towards a mixed market that would see it rejoin the mainstream of health systems across the developed world. In an era of fiscal austerity, rising possibilities for healthcare, and longer-living and better-informed citizens, the flexibility and honesty of any health system will be crucial to its success. The NHS scores poorly on both counts. A quarter century on from the Griffiths “management reforms”, the English health service is still a rigid centralised and politicised bureaucracy. Even now the Health Secretary feels the need to dictate the specifics of what service providers must do in providing care to patients. NHS professionals are reduced to mere functionaries, leading to a steady flow of stories of neglect in the most basic care of vulnerable patients, as real responsibility remains with in Whitehall.
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Anthony Howlett Bolton, Anthony Burden, Tony Caplin, David Ramsbotham, Kate Rutherford, Chris Woodhead
edited by Sheila Lawlor
July 2003 £9.00
To view the press release for this publication, click here