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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Amended NHS reforms are 'car crash'

16th June 2011

Former health secretary Alan Milburn has criticised planned amendments to the coalition government’s NHS reforms.

nurse cuts

He said they had the “makings of a policy disaster for the NHS” and in time a “political disaster for the government”.

Mr Milburn, who is currently advising Prime Minister David Cameron on social mobility, described the watered-down NHS reforms as the “biggest car crash” in the history of the health service.

The former MP condemned the plans in an article for the Daily Telegraph where he said: “Many in both camps inside the coalition consider the U-turn a triumph. But it has the makings of a policy disaster for the NHS and, maybe in time, a political disaster for the government. It leaves both health policy and British politics in a very different place.”

Mr Milburn was health secretary for four years under Tony Blair.

He described the new policy as the biggest nationalisation since the NHS was created in 1948 and that giving control to the NHS Commissioning Board was effectively handing control to "the daddy of all quangos".

Scrapping the 2013 deadline for giving GP consortiums control of commissioning, he said, would result in a patchwork of decision-making for years to come.

He also felt that backtracking on NHS reform plans presented an “open goal” to the current Labour party.

Mr Milburn said: “It would be unwise, in my view, for Labour to concede rather than contest the reform territory. It now has an opportunity to re-stake its claim to be the party of progressive, radical reform.”


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