Civitas Slams ConDem’s Health Policy Plans: Will “Set NHS Back Three Years”
The ConDem regime’s White Paper on the National Health Service, set for publication next week, will “mean one thing for patients: a return to rationing, either by waiting or by reductions in services,” according to independent think tank Civitas.
Furthermore, Civitas said, the proposed move to transfer commissioning responsibility to General Practitioners (GPs) will cost the NHS its £20 billion efficiency savings target all by itself.
The White Paper is expected to outline plans to hand control of as much as £80 billion of resources in the NHS from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to consortia of GPs.
In an analysis of the proposals, Civitas said that this move is likely to lead “to at least a one year dip in performance in the NHS in absolute terms.”
In addition, it will “set the NHS back at least three years relative to what could be achieved without any structural change,” said James Gubb, director of the health unit at Civitas.
“The NHS is facing the most difficult financial times in its history. Now is not the time for ripping up internal structures yet again on scant evidence base, but for focussing minds on the task ahead and really getting behind the difficult decisions PCTs, as commissioners, will have to make,” Mr Gubb said.
A statement released this morning by Civitas said that its researchers had analysed the impact of the last reconfiguration of commissioning on performance.
“This occurred in 2006 when the number of PCTs was reduced in size from 302 to 152, through merging 222 PCTs and leaving 80 PCTs unchanged — a comparatively minor change compared with that now on the table,” Civitas said.
“Looking at the health watchdog, the Healthcare Commission's, Annual Health Check ratings of PCTs on 'quality of services' and 'use of resources' pre-and post-mergers, the following effects were observed:
“An absolute drop in performance on 'quality of service' and 'use of resources' lasting at least one year in PCTs that were merged.
“Where PCTs were merged in 2006 'quality of services' dropped sharply the year after, with the percentage of merged PCTs rated 'good' or 'excellent' falling from 34 percent in 2005/06 to 12 percent in 2006/07.
“The percentage of merged PCTs rated 'good' or 'excellent' on 'use of resources' also fell, from 5 percent to 4 percent,” the Civitas statement said.
“This compares with significantly improved performance in the 80 PCTs that were not merged. In terms of 'use of resources', the number of PCTs that were not merged rated 'good' or 'excellent' jumped from 15 percent to 34 percent between 2005/06 and 2006/07. In terms of 'quality of services', the number rated 'good' or 'excellent' improved from 35 percent to 39 percent.”
Mr Gubb said that “ruling out the fiscally implausible possibility of significant extra spending on the NHS, past evidence on restructuring in the NHS suggests any slight blip in [Secretary of State for Health Andrew] Lansley's plans will mean one thing for patients: a return to rationing, either by waiting or by reductions in services.”
Once again, the interests of the British people are put last by the ConDem coalition. The “restricting” and “savings” are in stark contrast to the ever increasing EU membership fees, foreign aid, asylum and immigration costs, foreign wars and other expenditures which are not in Britain’s interests.