NHS news review

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.

NHS ‘shocking’ in parts, says Andrew Lansley – Telegraph

Speaking to members of the NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare managers, Andrew Lansley said that variation between areas was evidence that the service could be “so much better”.

He cited a recent report on care for the dying by Tom Hughes-Hallet, the chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, which found some health authorities spend more than £6,000 on palliative care for each dying person, while one spent just £186.

He told the annual conference of the NHS Confederation in Manchester: “I know people are generally satisfied with the NHS. But if people were only aware of the variations in the quality, they’d be shocked!

GPs paid £100 an hour for new NHS duties – Main Section – Yorkshire Post

TAXPAYERS are forking out premium rates of up to £100 an hour for GPs in the region to take on new duties under the Government’s landmark NHS reforms, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.

The rate for roles commissioning services is equivalent to around £180,000 a year – more than the annual pay for most NHS chief executives.

Doctors in North Lincolnshire are being paid the highest £100 an hour fee which is twice as much as in neighbouring Doncaster.

Across the region, rates vary significantly for duties on new GP commissioning groups, which will each take charge of hundreds of millions of pounds in NHS spending.

Ministers claim their plans for health service reconfiguration will save taxpayers billions of pounds by axing layers of bureaucracy but doubts have already been raised about the likely impact.

Unison and private companies clash over any qualified provider policy | GPonline.com

Unison has renewed its attack on the policy to allow any qualified provider to deliver NHS care after the government said it would push ahead with its plans.

The public sector union claimed the policy was ‘perverse’ at a time of NHS cuts and said it was privatisation by the back door.

But private companies defended the proposal saying it would allow charities to take a bigger role in delivering NHS services.

The any qualified provider policy will see NHS and private providers compete for contracts based on quality and cost. The government says it will improve patient choice.

The NHS Future Forum opted to retain the policy in its recommendations on the Health Bill last month.

Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, debated the plans during a lively exchange at the UK Faculty of Public Health’s annual conference in Birmingham on Monday.

Ms Jennings told attendees: ‘We are moving towards wholesale competition in the NHS.’

If the any qualified provider policy is adopted, ‘we will have an NHS based on pure, unfettered market’, she warned.

She claimed plans to increase patient choice could actually raise NHS costs if they opt for more expensive options and was ‘perverse’ at a time of stringent cuts.

The choice agenda is a first step towards co-payments for some care, she added, which will eventually lead to a US-style health insurance model.

‘This is the road to ruin for the NHS,’ she said.

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