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Thursday 18th July 2019

Overhaul of NHS in England 'over-sold'

28th January 2011

A leading health economist has claimed that the government has over-sold the need for its overhaul of the NHS in England.


Professor John Appleby of the King’s Fund think-tank said comparisons used by the government to back the overhaul were not as straightforward as they were portrayed.

Ministers argued that England was lagging behind in terms of the number of deaths from certain diseases.

Under the proposals, the government is abolishing primary care trust sand strategic health authorities as it passes control of NHS budgets over to GP consortia.

Professor Appleby said the health service’s performance in areas such as heart disease and cancer was improving.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor Appleby said the UK had had the largest fall in heart attack deaths between 1980 and 2006 of any European country and death rates for lung cancer in men have been declining in the UK since 1979. In the last 20 years, breast cancer deaths have dropped 40%.

He said: “These trends must challenge one of the government's key justifications for reforming the NHS.”

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said the changes are needed to make the NHS more responsive to patients but also that the number of people dying from diseases lagged behind other European countries.

Health minister Lord Howe said: “There is a wealth of research which demonstrates beyond doubt that UK health outcomes are relatively worse than they could be. Our proposals will put the NHS on a more sustainable footing for the future.”


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