The UK coalition Government has now been in power for about 8 months. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats included the formation of an NHS Commissioning Board, or GPs' commissioning consortia, in their health manifestos on which the electorate voted. The speed of the introduction of the Health and Social Care Bill is surprising, especially given the absence of relevant detail in the health manifestos. The Conservatives promised, if elected, to scrap “politically motivated targets that have no clinical justification” and called themselves the “party of the NHS”—a commitment that seems particularly hollow now.
Since its establishment in July, 1948, the aim of the NHS has been to offer a comprehensive service to improve health and prevent illness, available to all in England and Wales (and then extended throughout the UK), which is largely free of charge. Health care for all, for free, has been the common ethos and philosophy throughout the NHS. On July 3, 1948, in an editorial entitled “Our Service”, The Lancet commented: “Now that everyone is entitled to full medical care, the doctor can provide that care without thinking of his own profit or his patient's loss, and can allocate his efforts more according to medical priority. The money barrier has of course protected him against people who do not really require help, but it has also separated him from people who really do.” Now, GPs will return to the market place and will decide what care they can afford to provide for their patients, and who will be the provider. The emphasis will move from clinical need (GPs' forte) back to cost (not what GPs were trained to evaluate). The ethos will become that of the individual providers, and will differ accordingly throughout England, replacing the philosophy of a genuinely national health service.
Health professionals cannot say that no change is needed—it most certainly is. But there is sufficient uncertainty and concern about the changes outlined in the Health and Social Care Bill to pause, to learn from the past, and to consider what the changes mean for patients' outcomes. As it stands, the UK Government's new Bill spells the end of the NHS.
Even the Daily Mail realises that government policy is a "can of worms".
"Cameron admits even his own doctor brother-in-law doesn't trust NHS reforms"