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Monday 17th June 2019

Is this the end of our NHS?

28th January 2011

In an editorial, The Lancet asks if the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill will see the end of our National Health Service.


Changes outlined by the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill will have a huge impact but it is the formation of an NHS Commissioning Board and commissioning consortia that will see the “catastrophic” break-up of the NHS.

Doing nothing is not an option because the NHS is not giving patients the care they need.

Money pumped into the NHS has not translated into benefits for patients and bureaucracy continues to stifle innovation.

It remains unclear whether the changes in the Health and Social Care Bill will solve these problems and improve care for patients.

Putting GPs in charge of commissioning health services is similar to the fund holding experiment in the 1990s but there is little evidence on whether that had any patient benefit.

Under the new plan, transparent appraisal of patient outcomes is important.

The speed of the introduction of the changes is surprising given that neither coalition partner had it in their manifesto.

What will now happen is that GPs will return to the market place and will decide what care they can afford to provide for their patients, and who will be the provider.

Change is certainly needed but there is sufficient uncertainty about the changes outlined in the Health and Social Care Bill to pause, to learn from the past, and consider what the changes mean for patients’ outcomes.

As it stands, the UK Government’s new Bill spells the end of the NHS.


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