Why are they making these changes to NHS?

editorial image

Surely everyone supports the NHS? Even if you are lucky enough to enjoy perfect helath now you know it’s so important to have an NHS that looks after you when you need it.

The NHS needs investment and reform to protect it and improve it. It’s unthinkable that someone elected on a promise not to cut it would force through changes that put it at risk.

David Cameron is insisting on pressing ahead with the Health and Social Care Bill in the teeth of opposition from health professionals who understand it and the public who use it. It shows it wasn’t true when he promised that the Conservative Party poses no threat to the NHS. It shows he is out of touch and driven by ideology.

Change is good if it produces improvements. Why change to make things worse?

Risk assessments drawn up by the four English health regions warn that there is a high risk of the proposed reforms reducing safety and patient care and causing overspending.

The internal reports warn of a high risk that the improvements in management and reduced costs that the reforms are supposed to achieve won’t happen.The assessments were drawn up last month for the four NHS regions – London, the South of England, the Midlands and East of England and the North – created last year by merging smaller regions. In London, officials have warned that there is a high risk of losing key staff, which, combined with poor information could lead to a “preventable harm to children”.

The risk assessment for the North of England warns that the drive to achieve higher productivity could have a major impact on the quality of health care. It also claims there is a high risk of “organisational and system instability” damaging the quality of management, and uncertainty caused by the changes that could reduce the performance of staff and organisations.

Lower-rated problems – still considered high risks – cover a wide range including a “loss of grip on current performance”. The assessment determined “safety is compromised by lack of clarity on accountability, poor morale, and loss of knowledge”.

The report for the Midlands and East of England warns of the upheaval likely to be caused by management changes and targets to cut spending. It also warns of the potential for conflict between different parts of the NHS, reduced quality and safety, neglect of primary care and overspending

Last year, civil servants at the Department of Health drew up a one-off national-risk register that is thought to have raised very serious concerns. Unbelievably Mr Lansley is fighting a legal battle to avoid having to publish it. He doesn’t want us to know the consequences of his changes and the risks he has been warned of.

We have to ask, why are these changes being made and where will they take the NHS and all us? If they are passed we will have to remember who forced them through.

Anthony Rutherford

Finkil St

Brighouse