|Bernard Jenkin MP on his support for reform of the NHS|
|Monday, 02 April 2012 15:44|
Bernard Jenkin MP has written the following letter to the Essex County Standard expressing his view on reform of the NHS.
The Essex County Standard has reported concern about the NHS reforms, which have now been passed by Parliament.
The NHS is one of the things that makes this country great: healthcare for all, free at the point of use, unrelated to the ability to pay. And that’s the way it should stay.
But the NHS is not perfect. Brilliant as it is, we could still do better. If the NHS was performing at world class levels we could save an extra 5,000 lives from cancer every year.
People are living longer and the cost of medicines has been rising by £600 million per year. Just carrying on was not an option. We are spending more than ever on the NHS – one in every seven pounds of public money. But more money without reform will fail future generations. Lord Darzi, an eminent surgeon and ex-Labour Minister, got it right. He said: “to believe in the NHS is to believe in its reform.” I agree.
We are putting doctors and nurses in charge of the NHS so they can advise you on the best choices about when and how you are treated. Doctors in our local clinical commissioning groups are already delivering better care for patients in your community. We have over 4,000 more doctors and the highest ever number of midwives.
We are getting more money to the front line by cutting bureaucracy. The reforms take out over 160 “PCT”s and Strategic Health Authorities and half of the statutory health quangos. We’re taking power away from bureaucrats and putting it in the hands of the people best placed to use it – GPs.
We are also saving some £5 billion being wasted in administration.
The NHS hasn’t just emerged from a golden age. Under the previous Government the private sector was paid £250 million for operations that were never carried out. In one year (2008-2009) the number of NHS managers increased six times faster than the number of nurses.
We are making sure that there’s a better fit between health and social care, bringing together health, hospitals, housing and social services. We are doing this by giving power to local boards who are free to focus on local health and local need.
Let’s not be frightened of using competition to help achieve all this. It’s not a race to the bottom over price. It’s a race to the top on quality. It’s a means of giving greater choice to patients to get the high quality care they require. If you ban competition, there would be no choice in the system at all.
Let’s not insist that the private sector and the NHS must be on opposite sides. Private companies and the NHS have worked hand-in-hand since 1948. Most GP practices are private partnerships. Privatisation? Hardly! The Health Bill for the first time ever outlaws favouring the private sector over existing state health providers.
The Government, through these reforms, is committed to more money for the NHS, more freedoms for your GP and a better future for the NHS. These commitments have my full support and I am proud to have voted for them.