Tories put profits before patients: Doctors' verdict on 'damaging' NHS reforms
Chief of the British Medical Associations says: "We have been left with a system that puts profits before patients, competition before co-operation and failed utterly to improve patient care"
The Prime Minister is to be told by the people who know best that his disastrous attempt at reforming the NHS has “failed utterly“.
In an unprecedented attack on David Cameron, the British Medical Association has warned that his flagship policies have not helped the sick, frail and elderly.
The damning verdict is supported by a show of distrust in the Tories and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with a staggering 95% of the country’s doctors saying they do not agree that the PM’s policies have improved the quality of patient care.
The BMA, which represents 150,000 medics and is Britain’s biggest doctors’ union, wants the Health and Social Care Act – which opened up the NHS to the private sector – to be scrapped.
At a cost of £3billion, it has been branded a “fiasco“ and has taken vital funding away from frontline services since being implemented last year, according to medical experts.
Dr Kailash Chand, deputy chair of the BMA and one of the country’s most senior doctors, insisted that the growing privatisation of the NHS was damaging patient care in England – yet doing nothing to plug the crippling £30billion black hole still plaguing the service.
He said: “The test for any government health policy should be whether it delivers for patients. By almost every measure the current system is failing.
“It’s concerning that, a year on from the Health and Social Care Act coming into force, doctors believe patient care is being compromised, not improved.
“The Government was repeatedly warned that opening the NHS to the private sector would lead to a fragmentation of services at a time when more joined-up care is needed – and this is exactly what we are now seeing.“
He went on to highlight the fact that in the past two years, £11billion worth of NHS contracts have been put up for sale, while 35,000 staff have been axed.
And the worrying statistics do not end there. Half of the country’s 600 ambulance stations are earmarked for closure and a third of NHS walk-in centres have shut.
Those on the front line of the NHS have also expressed their concerns with Mr Cameron’s policy decisions. A survey of 500 doctors will be published at the BMA’s annual conference in Harrogate, North Yorks, which begins today.
When asked whether the Health and Social Care Act had improved the quality of patient care – as the Tories promised it would – just 5% agreed that was the case, while more than half disagreed and the rest neither disagreed or agreed.
The reforms included 151 primary care trusts being replaced by 211 clinical commissioning groups – which the Government said would be led by GPs. But in reality, one-in-three CCGs saw a GP board member resign within six months, with many others later following suit.
It means more CCGs – which control the budget for healthcare in an area and decide who can receive what treatment – are now made up of non-medical staff, the opposite of what was promised.
Patients are also facing growing rationing of treatments such as counselling, cataract removal and IVF. Doctors have warned that these restrictions have increased dramatically since last April, when the PM’s controversial reform began.
His reorganisation has boosted the role of private firms with new rules encouraging competition between healthcare providers.
Dr Chand said: “It is clear that we have been left with a system which puts profits before patients, competition before co-operation and has failed utterly to deliver improved patient care.
“What’s worse is that, at a cost of billions, it has taken vital funding away from frontline services while doing nothing to address the crippling £30billion black hole.“
The BMA’s warning comes after Public Health Minister Jane Ellison admitted that the Government no longer has “day-to-day control“ of the NHS.
In a leaked recording of comments at a private meeting of the Tory Reform Group, which emerged yesterday, she said: “We have some important strategic mechanisms but we don’t really have day-to-day control. From a political point of view, it’s a bit like being on a high wire without a net – it can be quite exciting.“
However, Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed said: “The NHS shake-up was a £3billion fiasco that nobody voted for.
"All it succeeded in doing was increasing bureaucracy and driving costs up. Now ministers are simply washing their hands of responsibility for our NHS.“
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham added: “With waiting lists approaching a six-year high, the public asked people like me to do something about it.
“But this Government can’t do anything about it because they turned the NHS into the world’s biggest quango. Who gave them permission to do that? Who voted for this change? The answer is nobody.“
The Department of Health last night defended Mr Cameron’s reforms saying they had given greater powers to doctors and nurses and insisted ministers could still “grip the system“ when needed.
A spokesman added: “Giving operational control for the day-to-day running of services to doctors was right.
“But we have always been clear that ministers are responsible for the NHS. We are proud of its performance in challenging circumstances.“
The BMI’s damning verdict came as another of its polls revealed that seven out of 10 Brits think politicians use the NHS as a political football.
And nearly 75% think health policies are designed simply to win votes, not to do what is best for the NHS.
Commenting the survey of 2,000 people, Dr Mark Porter of the BMA, said: “Doctors want to see politics taken out of the NHS once and for all.
"It is clear that the public feel the same way.“
disastrous adj. 灾难性的；损失惨重的；悲伤的
staggering adj. 蹒跚的；令人惊愕的；犹豫的
crippling v. 削弱（cripple的ing形式）；使受损
fiasco n. 惨败
quango n. 半官方机构；半独立国家的政府组织
凯拉什 • 昌德博士(Kailash Chand)，该医师协会的副主席认为不断扩张的NHS私有化进程严重损害了英国病患的利益，是一种明显将金钱利益置于病患利益之上的行为。而与此同时，300亿英镑的黑洞依旧没有人来弥补，这也在不断地侵蚀着医疗保健服务体系。