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With the NHS in flames Government firefighting looks like desperation

By: The Leader
Published: Saturday, August 10, 2013 - 12:15 GMT Jump to Comments

The government may have blown its chance with the National Health Service. Now they need to act quickly to save both the NHS and their own political lives.

When the Conservatives said that the NHS was safe in their hands (and they said it more than thrice during the run up to the last election), we all thought they were making a statement about their intentions. We thought they were defining policy. Some of us believed them and some of us didn’t.

What we did not think (or at least the present writer did not think) was that they were protesting their competence to keep the NHS safe. We did not think that they were whistling in the dark in an attempt to persuade us and themselves that they knew how to protect the health services in this country. But that, it now seems, is exactly what they were doing.

Replacing Primary Care Trusts with GP-led CCGs was a key component of the government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 - the biggest re-organisation of the NHS since it started sixty-five years ago. Now Heads of CCGs are starting to resign, saying they need to concentrate on caring for their patients (how can this be a surprise?). Meanwhile the government is providing financial life support to the Accident and Emergency service. That first half billion will not be the last.

And we have been forced to import a slick-talking American to reassure the country that with a little more effort and good will, patients can be safe in the hands of the NHS. Good grief, how on earth did we get here? The 111 service is in disarray and may be going down the tubes. It is easier to see the dark side of the Moon than see a GP and anything resembling adequate out of hours care is a distant memory. And a whole raft of smaller, government-designed health initiatives are making heavy-going of getting going just as the experts predicted.

It looks very much as though the government is firefighting a conflagration they themselves started.

The government - which is trying to deny there is a problem never mind a crisis - has had one chance with the national health services. Now they have another, probably their last one, and so they had better get it right. It’s noticeable that they are no longer telling us the NHS is safe in their hands. Now that is good thinking. For if they did, someone might point out that, while their intentions might be good, there are a great number of question marks against their abilities.

There is one good thing about all of this. The government can hardly blame the previous administration for the mess the health service is now in, though on past form they will no doubt try. For once they are going to have to stand by their own record. It’s time everyone followed The Leader and started demanding that they do just that.

FOLLOW THE LEADER (on twitter) @theleaderspeaks

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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