Health bill spells the end of the NHS in England, warn experts

Mar 22, 2011

The Health and Social Care Bill amounts to the abolition of the English NHS as a universal, comprehensive, publicly accountable, tax funded service, free at the point of delivery, warn experts today.

In a paper published in the , Professor Allyson Pollock and David Price examine the proposed changes and argue that the government's duty to provide a comprehensive health service in England is abolished.

They say that freedoms created under the new bill will allow corporate commissioners and investors to contract out all NHS services to a range of private providers and redefine the range of NHS services available. They will also be free to charge for some elements that are currently NHS services and to create surpluses for staff and shareholders by under-spending the patient care budget, the authors say.

International competition laws may also be used to challenge public policies that impair their profitability and freedom to operate, they warn.

In order to create a commercial market, they argue that "the government has repealed the health secretary's duty to provide or secure the provision of comprehensive care and has abolished the structures and mechanisms which follow from this duty."

However, they point out that "government belief that cost efficiency, improved quality, and greater equity flow from competition in healthcare markets is not supported by evidence, the Office of Fair Trading, the government's impact assessment, or its experience of independent treatment centres and private finance initiatives."

They call for several key amendments "to ensure continuation of NHS comprehensive healthcare throughout England."

These include restoring the duty of the secretary of state for to provide comprehensive healthcare throughout England, imposing a duty on commissioning consortiums to provide comprehensive healthcare to all residents on the basis of need, and withdrawing the power granted to commissioners to charge for .

Unless these amendments are made, the bill as drafted "amounts to the abolition of the English NHS as a universal, comprehensive, publicly accountable, tax funded service, free at the point of delivery," they conclude.

Explore further: Tax forms could pose challenge for HealthCare.gov

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are enhanced pharmacy services value for money?

May 12, 2010

Recent changes to the NHS community pharmacy contract in England and Wales have led to a range of services, like smoking cessation and supervised methadone administration, which were once the reserve of general practitioners ...

Time to reopen PFI contracts

Feb 09, 2011

It is time to reopen private finance initiative (PFI) contracts say leading public health physician, Professor Allyson Pollock, and colleagues in the British Medical Journal today.

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

Aug 29, 2014

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

Aug 29, 2014

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments : 0