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Thursday 24th May 2018

What will a coalition government mean for the NHS?

11th May 2010

If Britain ends up with a coalition government then some plans for health reform could be scrapped or given lower priority.

houses of parliament

It is probable that the main topics discussed and voted on by MPs in a new government will be those that have an effect on financial matters.

The health service takes up one fifth of the money spent by the government and as a result cuts would need to be made to aid the economic situation.

The Tories were the only party who said they would make increases to the health service budget, although these would probably be minimal.

None of the major parties have challenged the view of Sir David Nicholson, the chief of the health service, who said the NHS must make £20 billion in cuts in order to meet future challenges such as obesity and ageing.

These savings equate to around 5% of the annual health service budget.

Michael Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance, which acts to represent health service workers who do not work in hospitals, says: "It is the case that whatever government gets in the challenge on money remains the same."

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the King's Fund health think tank, said: "The economy is clearly the crucial issue and so how the NHS affects that will be the priority."

"As for everything else, rather than create opportunities for disagreement they will just keep to the basics. The NHS will just trundle on."


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Pauline Hull

Wednesday 12th May 2010 @ 20:54

While I agree that the NHS must seek to reduce its costs where possible, some NHS hospitals are seeking to introduce entirely inefficient cost-cutting policies that have a dangerously short-term and blinkered view. Take this report, in the online Derby Telegraph yesterday:

The news about caesarean delivery here is outrageous and unethical. Why should a woman (even one with a healthy pregnancy) be forced to give birth via a TRIAL of labour? Policy makers in the NHS constantly fail to see the obvious when they attempt cost-cutting. Litigation following obstetric complications, the overwhelming majority of which are an outcome of a planned vaginal delivery and NOT a planned caesarean delivery (see the NHSLA website), costs the NHS more money than any other area of health litigation. Furthermore, injuries to babies and mothers during vaginal delivery (spontaneous and assisted) and emergency caesareans have to be treated, both in the short-term and the long-term (e.g. pelvic organ prolapse), yet these associated treatment costs are never included in cost comparison analysis.
Research has shown that at 39+ gestational weeks, it is safer for a baby to be born via planned caesarean delivery than to undergo a trial of labour – and while this will not be every woman's choice, for those whose choice it IS, they should not be refused on the basis of ill thought out cost-cutting efforts.

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