UK health reform under attack

David Cameron has defended his
plans to overhaul the health system as John Healey tells Boulton And Co the NHS
is the Prime Minister’s “biggest broken promise yet

The Prime Minister has come under
fire from health experts, including the Royal College of Surgeons, unions and
the Opposition.

Mr Cameron insisted there was no
“easy option of sticking with the status quo” and it was
“fiction” to think money alone could solve the service’s
short-comings.

It came after the president of the
Royal College of Surgeons publicly criticised the planned changes, which will
be published in Parliament on Wednesday.

John Black claims patients will be
left in pain due to cancelled operations as hospitals try to save money.

Shadow health secretary John Healey
also attacked the proposals, accusing Mr Cameron of doing exactly what he promised
not to do before the election – rushing through top-down reforms at significant
cost.

Challenged over the Prime
Minister’s claim a lot of money had been spent without improving outcomes, he
said it was more complex.

“It’s certainly true that if
you want to improve survival rates for cancer, heart-disease and stroke it’s a
long haul and it’s complicated,” he told Adam Boulton.

“Over the last 15 years we’ve
seen the rate of survival cut by 50 per cent.”

Mr Cameron’s speech emphasised why
modernising the UK’s public services was at the heart of his Government’s
agenda.

“Every year without
modernisation the costs of our public services escalate. Demand rises, the chains
of commands can grow, costs may go up, inefficiencies become more
entrenched,” he said.

The Prime Minister said it was
“complete fiction” to think extra money would smooth over the
problems.

Public health needed to be
modernised in order to tackle the demand for healthcare, and the supply of care
needs to be more efficient and less bureaucratic, he said.

“Put another way: it’s not
that we can’t afford to modernise; it’s that we can’t afford not to modernise,”
he added.

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