- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley responds to criticism by a committee of MPs by calling their brand new report “out of date” and “unfair”.
The government’s controversial NHS shake-up is hindering efforts to find ways of slashing health spending without cutting vital services, MPs warned yesterday.
In a highly critical report, the health select committee said hospitals were resorting to short-term “salami slicing” as they try to find £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014/15.
But in a stinging criticism of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s reorganisation, it said the process “continues to complicate the push for efficiency gains.”
There was a “marked disconnect between the concerns expressed by those responsible for delivering services and the relative optimism of the government” over achieving cuts, the committee noted.
The attack is especially wounding as the committee is chaired by former Tory health minister Stephen Dorrell and is dominated by Conservative and Lib Dem MPs.
It comes days after all the major health unions – representing doctors, nurses and midwives – expressed their “outright opposition” to the Health and Social Care Bill.
The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges are also holding a summit on Thursday evening to discuss the Bill.
The Royal College of Nursing has today (24 January) responded to a Health Select Committee report into public expenditure saying it agrees that forging ahead with reforms has caused disruption and distraction at a time of austerity within the NHS.
“We concur with the report findings,” said RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter. “We feel that the dual impact of the reform process and the full extent of the efficiency savings is now seriously destabilising the NHS. Indeed, in our opinion the bill has created such turmoil that it should be stopped. Now is the time for the Government to get a grip of the situation and work with organisations such as the RCN to stabilise the health service.”
The findings of the Health Select Committee chime with many of the concerns nursing staff have raised about efficiency savings. RCN research has shown that some NHS trusts are making short-term cuts to services and nursing posts in an attempt to make savings, rather than engaging in intelligent service redesign. The RCN says that in England alone, 48,000 NHS posts are earmarked to go.
“This will undoubtedly have a deep and potentially dangerous impact on patient care,” added Dr Carter. “As the report acknowledged, long-term planning and more integrated health and social care services could provide huge benefits for patient care.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has defended his NHS reforms, describing a highly critical report by MPs as “out of date” and “unfair” to the health service.
Mr Lansley insisted that the NHS was delivering efficiency savings and improvements for patients following a warning from MPs that the overhaul of the NHS is hindering efforts to slash health spending without cutting vital services.
“I think the select committee’s report is not only out of date but it is also, I think, unfair to the NHS, because people in the NHS, in hospitals and in the community services are very focused on ensuring that they deliver the best care to patients and that they live within the financial challenges that clearly all of us have at the moment,” Mr Lansley told ITV Daybreak.
“I am afraid the evidence points to the fact that they are doing that extremely well.”
His remarks follow a highly critical report from the Commons Health Select Committee which said hospitals were resorting to short-term “salami slicing” as they try to find £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014/15.
In a stinging criticism of Mr Lansley’s reorganisation, it said the process “continues to complicate the push for efficiency gains”.