freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger NHS myths busted. Really? | Christine Morgan - Journalist
+44 (0)7931 342850
Well I never. I’ve just received an, er, interesting press release from the Department of Health that’s so incredible, I’m going to reproduce it in it’s entirety. It’s entitled simply TOP MYTHS and I’m sure its aim is to answer the government’s critics. But doesn’t it achieve quite the opposite? Call me a cynic, but this latest missive only makes me more convinced that all our fears about how the health service may change under the coalition will be realised. In full.
I particularly like the comment that claims the NHS is being privatised are ‘ludicrous scaremongering’. Such strong, emotive language (not jut scaremongering, but ludicrous scaremongering) makes me think of that old saying: the lady doth protest too much. Or is that the cynic in me popping up again?
So here it is, completely unedited. Enjoy (for want of a better phrase)…
MYTH: The Health Secretary will wash his hands of the NHS
The Bill does not change the Secretary of State’s duty to promote a comprehensive health service.
MYTH: Bureaucracy will increase significantly
We are abolishing needless bureaucracy, and our plans will save one third of all administration costs during this Parliament.
MYTH: You are introducing competition in the NHS
Competition will not be pursued as an end in itself. We have said that competition will be used to drive up quality, and not be based on price. Nor will we allow competition to be a barrier to collaboration and integration.
MYTH: You are privatising the NHS
Claims that we aim to privatise the NHS amount to nothing more than ludicrous scaremongering. We have made it crystal clear, time and again, that we will never, ever, privatise the NHS.
MYTH: Private patients will take priority over other patients
The NHS will always be available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not the ability to pay. Nothing in our proposals will enable private patients to “leapfrog” to the front of NHS waiting lists.
MYTH: NHS hospitals will be managed by foreign companies
Even if independent sector management is used, NHS assets will continue to be wholly owned by the NHS. And there would be rigorous checks to ensure that any such independent provider is reputable and fit for purpose.
MYTH: The Bill hasn’t had proper scrutiny
The Bill has so far spent longer being scrutinised than any Public Bill between 1997 and 2010 – 40 Committee sittings, and over 100 hours of debate. Even Opposition MPs acknowledged that every inch of the Bill has been looked at.
MYTH: The NHS doesn’t need to change
The NHS does need to change to meet future challenges of an ageing population and rising costs of treatment. The independent NHS Future Forum confirmed the NHS must change to safeguard it for the future.
MYTH: You are introducing EU competition law in the NHS
The Bill does not change current UK or EU competition legislation or procurement legislation or the areas to which they apply.
MYTH: These plans were not in the Coalition Agreement
The Coalition Agreement clearly said doctors, nurses and health professionals will be handed freedom to decide what is right for their patients; that we will establish an independent NHS board; that patients will be in charge over their care; and that we will cut the cost of NHS administration by a third to reinvest into the front line.