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    “Women who live in the least deprived parts of Kensington & Chelsea can expect almost a quarter of a century more of good health than their female counterparts in the most deprived part of the borough. For females at birth, the number of years an individual could expect to live in good health based on current rates – known as healthy life expectancy – differed by an average of 24.6 years between the most and least deprived parts of the borough” (ONS, 2015) These geographical patterns of health inequity are repeated across the country so that thenumber of years an individual […]
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    As it enters 2016, the NHS is not a happy organisation. It hasn’t been for some time but the problems and pressures that have gathered pace through 2015 are coming to a head. A threatened strike by junior doctors is already a firm possibility but other issues are mounting by the day, ranging from cash‐strapped hospitals, allegedly underperforming GPs, shortages of clinical and nursing staff, poorly integrated health and social care, non‐existent or threadbare mental health services, the persistence of a bullying culture, to unforeseen cuts in public health funding that threaten to put further pressure on an already over‐stretched NHS. […]
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    “The result will be that at the end of this Parliament we will once again be back into a debate that I thought we had buried – whether tax based health care free at the point of need is the right basis for health provision. That is the last debate we should be having, but it will be product of this Bill. I believe the Secretary of State when he says he supports the NHS. But by the end of this Parliament, when the structural flaws are clear, he is not going to be around to defend it.” David Miliband […]
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    Too much of the discussion about the National Health Service seems to assume that its raison d’être was the provision of medical care without payment by the recipient at the time of its delivery. There are many ways in which that might have been achieved. The diagnosis and treatment of ill health in individuals, without payment at the time, is not an end in itself, but one of the means to an end. That end is the national health. It was to that end that the NHS was created for four main reasons. First, a healthy nation is a less unequal […]
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    The Labour approach to developing the NHS after 2015 will be limited by major constraints; no growth in funding, no top-down reorganisation and repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.  It marks the end of the period when reform was to be driven by competition and markets.  It replaces new public management based strategy with public value theory and marks the beginning of a return to faith in the value of democracy, public service and public servants and in ourselves – as public and patients.  It brings a decade of stability from redisorganisation and “reform” and looks for incremental […]
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    The impending Lords debate on the S75 Regulations under the Health & Social Care Act will be like the many previous ones.  The argument to annul will be won but the usual spineless behaviour of the LibDems will ensure the Regulations pass anyway.  Is this the end of the NHS as we know it? No.  Much of the doom saying ignores the reality of politics and of the way our NHS actually functions.  So we go on fighting the implementation. Just to be absolutely clear – the whole point of the H&SC Act is to bring in a regulated market […]
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    This post first appeared in International Socialism July 2013. and is reproduced by permission of the author. Introduction The NHS has barely been out of the news in recent months: the publication of the Francis Report on the events at the mid-Staffordshire hospital, which has now been put into administration; the measles outbreak in south Wales and elsewhere; children’s heart surgery at the Leeds General Infirmary; the attacks on Lewisham hospital as a result of the problems in the neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust; emergency patients being seen in a tent outside the A&E department of Norwich University Hospital at […]
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    Shibley’s thought provoking post on communications touches on some serious issues. He asks why we fail to get over the message that the NHS is being privatised and sold off? In part it is because those with the siren voices have said similar things about every other change to the NHS; in part it is because privatisation in the sense the public understands it is not happening (at least not yet); and also perhaps the message that more private providers will be delivering NHS services has got over but the response is “so what”?  The opinion polls and focus groups […]
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    This article was first published by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest and is reproduced by permission Introduction As predicted, the future of health care in England seems likely to lie with EU competition law and in the hands of lawyers[1].   The House of Lords’ vote in favour of keeping the revised section 75 regulations contained in Health and Social Care Act 2012 has seen to that.  Opponents of the regulations now fear that the NHS is on an irreversible path towards privatisation. Lord Owen has claimed that within 20 years the NHS will be unrecognisable. The controversial […]
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    One of the government’s main arguments for its current reforms of the NHS is that they are necessary to meet the economic challenges which stem from the financial crash of 2008. But by directly drawing on the failed models and institutions of pre-2008 economics the reforms fail to learn from recent history. Government and regulators should be looking at how to embed responsibility and ethics in healthcare organisations, rather than importing the institutions and values that were implicated in the greatest market failure for 80 years. In looking to develop its policies for whole person care Labour must also learn […]
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    From 1 April the NHS moves into a new form.  The NHS ceases to be the provider of healthcare and becomes just the commissioner; the Secretary of State ceases to have any meaningful responsibility and no longer has powers to direct and intervene, strategy and planning are replaced by market forces.  A greater range of providers – some from the private sector, will be delivering NHS care. As we have argued for almost 3 years the intention is to make a regulated market for our healthcare. We are convinced that this is but the first step in a process which […]
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