Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sir Gerry and the NHS

Sir Gerry Robinson's comments on the work with the NHS for the BBC can be summarised:

1. The NHS should not be treated like a normal business
2. The government should not interfere with it

To the first point - absolutely! The NHS has changed from a service to a business over the past 17 years with the fastest moves to becoming a business happening in the past 7 years. This is fundementally wrong. The NHS should primarily be about provision of services to vulnerable (ill) people when they need it - people that society as a whole has a duty to look after. The NHS can learn a thing or two from the business world, but it should not model itself on them.

To the second point - yes and no. The NHS has to be accountable to the public. Currently ministers are campaigning against changes in the NHS - so who is accountable and to whom are they accountable? The NHS should be accountable to local people through local government. This change would be rocky for a few years, but in the longer term people would smooth out with an increased sense of control and responsibility by residents for the NHS.


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