Reforms in the National Health Service opposed by the BMA, Royal College of Nurses and the Royal College of Midwives

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 28th, 2012

Week in Review

There is a struggle in Britain about power and money in the National Health Service (NHS).  Health care costs are rising.  Services are being rationed.  And the current government is trying to fix these problems by decentralizing the NHS.  By transferring budgets and decision making to the general practitioners (GPs) at the local level.  The front-line doctors.  Making the GPs responsible for their budgets.  And their patients’ care.  At the local level where doctors treat patients.  Making the practice of medicine once again an intimate relationship between doctor and patient.  But others see this as a heinous plot to introduce market forces into health care (see NHS ‘in peril’ if health reforms fail, warn GPs by Stephen Adams posted 1/27/2012 on The Telegraph).

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the heads of more than 50 new doctors’ groups argue that the British Medical Association’s policy of “blanket opposition” to the Health and Social Care Bill fails to represent GPs’ views.

They warn that previous reforms have not gone far enough and have consequently “paid the price of disengaging the frontline staff most needed to modernise the NHS”…

The letter has been signed by 56 GPs who are helping set up clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across England. Under the Bill these will effectively replace primary care trusts (PCTs) and be handed their budgets.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has consistently argued that the central thrust of the Bill is to give doctors a greater say, and key to this is giving them more responsibility for commissioning health services…

However, many believe the real motive is to open up the NHS for greater private sector involvement.

Last November the BMA moved to a position of total opposition to the Bill, and since the New Year the Royal College of Nurses and the Royal College of Midwives have followed suit. The Royal College of GPs is deeply sceptical, although not yet publicly in total opposition.

The inefficiencies of national health care have resulted in medical rationing.  Which has lowered the quality of health care for the patient.  So why would anyone oppose reforms to improve the quality of health care for the patient?  Because it will introduce market forces into health care.  Which will reduce costs and improve efficiency.  Which could also impact pay, benefits and pensions of health care providers.  The most expensive part of national health care.

This is the danger of national health care.  It destroys the quality of health care.  But it also creates a very vocal and powerful health care bureaucracy.  That takes on a life of its own.  And makes reform nearly impossible.  It’s happening in Britain.  And will happen in the U.S. if Obamacare is not repealed.

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