I noticed the headline on the Chronicle article dated July 21 by Vince Cable “NHS Reforms will not please everyone”. I have the greatest respect for Vince and he is perfectly right in his judgement; but what an understatement!
Andrew Lansley made his statement to the House on the July 12. During the questioning of the Secretary of State there was disquiet on the Con/Dem side of the chamber as well as horror expressed on the opposition benches.
The Secretary of State announced that he is going to dissolve all Primary Health Care Trusts and replace them by setting up completely new management organisations. He said he intends to do this because he wants GP’s and clinicians to have control of the commissioning process. He is in effect placing 80 billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to completely new organisations to spend on our behalf. Can you imagine the direct cost of this process of reorganisation including redundancy payments?
Can you imagine the immediate indirect costs emanating from the unsettling effect on every member of staff at every PCT in the country?
There were questions on a wide range of issues aimed at Andrew Lansley from members on both sides of the House. I asked him one simple question:
“If the Secretary of State is correct in saying that we need clinicians and GPs to have more influence and even control over the commissioning process, will he explain why he does not simply legislate for them to take over the current trusts? That would achieve his aim immediately, and if any inefficiencies appeared and changes to the management commissioning structure were needed-whether in the present PCTs or following reorganisation-they could take place after a period of time. Instead, these slash and burn proposals are going to cost millions of pounds and cause a lot of disruption.”.
He answered: “The simple answer is because GP commissioners want to create their own commissioning consortiums according to their own needs and local circumstances. They do not want to be saddled with the legislative structures and costs that currently bedevil primary care trusts.”
I was astonished! What do you think? No wonder The Labour Party has received 25,000 applications for membership since the general election.
I have written to Andrew Lansley this week asking him to consider using a more pragmatic approach to this problem. The Con/Dem coalition’s majority in the Commons will enable them to carry through change in Health Policy that is so damaging. However they’re obviously, in forcing through a completely unnecessarily “rapid” reorganisation of the PCT system, particularly exposing their inexperience.
No wonder the public is beginning to believe that they lack the experience to govern.