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Disillusioned NHS needs reform

19 Feb 2007 - JG

We are often spun facts from all the parties about what state the NHS is in. But if you really want to know the truth, it’s probably best to ask the people who work there. This is what The Times has done. And it doesn’t make good reading for the Government.

The Times polled more than 3000 doctors and it has given “the most striking picture yet of the level of disillusionment within the profession”. The most worrying find is that despite massive investment of billions of pounds, services have not improved and money has been wasted. Interestingly, nearly twice as many doctors would trust the NHS with David Cameron than with Gordon Brown. However before you start spinning that Dave, most people didn’t trust either of you. The results show a profession disillusioned with central control, angered by the growth of bureaucracy, and deeply sceptical of initiatives such as the £20 billion IT system. An incredible 72% did not think money had been well spent. Over half said there had been no improvement in the NHS since 2002. Only a quarter actually thought there had been.

The result of this is that they strongly reject the notion that taxation is the only way to fund the NHS – 72% dismiss this notion and fear that by 2008 the high standards needed to run the health service will not be sustainable on tax payers’ money. Mark Porter, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants’ committee, said: “It is tragic that the Government has used so much of the increased expenditure on wasteful initiatives like independent sector treatment centres and PFI. The private sector has certainly done well out of the increased funding.”

It is clear that this government has wasted billions on the NHS and got little if no return in increased standards and performance. A serious overhaul of the way the NHS is funded and run is needed, and it is needed fast.

Topics: Health
Organisations: UK DoH

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