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NHS “Reform”

February 22, 2011

The opposition to the pending NHS reforms has been fairly resounding from all quarters; even David Cameron’s own Cardiologist brother-in-law has spoken out to condemn them. Anyway for those people who don’t know anything about how the NHS works here is a – by no means comprehensive or infallible – list of people who don’t support the reforms and some reasons why that might be. Please feel free to criticise or dismiss or add more as you wish.

1. General Practitioners

On the one hand you might be mistaken for thinking that GPs were the winners in this situation, what with GP Commissioning promising bigger budgets, more power, more autonomy and potentially bigger salaries. This isn’t the case, and in reality GPs – who were savvy enough to get a very lucrative deal out of the government last time round – are mostly opposed to the changes.

Many GPs don’t like the reforms because they mean taking on more responsibilities they haven’t been trained for and don’t feel capable of handling. Many GPs don’t like the reforms because they recognise that since the minimum size for an effective GP Commission is 250,000 potential patients, they will inevitably end up re-emplying the NHS managers to do the jobs they already do. Many GPs worry that without the protective shield of NICE to limit their prescribing this system will inevitably end up damaging the doctor-patient relationship. But the main reason that most GPs don’t like the idea of the reforms? It’s because they recognise that these reforms are simply a precursor for the already-announced looming cuts to NHS spending and, when the quality of services provided under the NHS drops, they will be scape-goated for these short-comings by the politicians.

2. Hospital Doctors

Hospital Doctors, for the most part, don’t like the proposed reform for a simple reason: They don’t trust GPs to spend the money they’re given wisely. Some of the more altruistic among them may worry about the effects on the service they can offer. In reality their jobs probably won’t change much; the cuts to the NHS may have some impact on their salary but they will be able to make this up (and more) by supplementing with work in the private sector.

3. NHS Managers

Unsurprisingly the managers don’t like the idea that they will lose their jobs (even if they will probably be hired again), but they could also probably legitimately argue that this process will be costly and, certainly in the short term, inefficient.

4. Economists and Politicians

Well it’s kind of the Opposition’s job to be opposed to these things, but the when members of the cabinet and right and left wing think-tanks come out and say they don’t support the reforms then you kind of have to listen. To summarise the reason these guys don’t support the reforms is pretty simple: They think they will cost a lot of money to implement and they won’t improve services. Pretty simple, but from the look of things they might just be right.

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