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Is Darzi review just sticking plaster?

6th October 2007

A Times editorial suggests that while Lord Darzi’s plans for the NHS are broadly sensible in some areas, in others they are less convincing.

Bulldozing1Q

Health Minister Lord Darzi of Denham is the most politically important of the outside “talents? recruited to government by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, carrying considerable personal credibility.

The bulk of his recent interim report on the future of the NHS concerned access to GP clinics and the extent of MRSA in hospitals and his suggestions on these issues are broadly sensible.

There is a case for a periodic “deep clean? of hospitals and the testing of patients when they arrive in wards, though these measures would still have to be supplemented by nurses rigorously washing their hands between contact with every patient.

Similarly, while ministers are entitled to want to ensure that GPs and their clinics are more widely available to the public, there is not necessarily a relationship between the hours a clinic is open and the quality of treatment.

In other areas, Lord Darzi is less convincing.

He says the NHS is tardy in adopting new ideas or embracing new technologies but the solution of a Health Innovation Council is unlikely to inspire innovation across the NHS.

The Darzi review is in danger of being little more than sticking plaster.

What is required is a more sweeping debate about whether the basic model of health-care in Britain is still suitable for modern circumstances, and whether health workers are flexible enough to cope with the contemporary challenge.

 

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