Socialist Worker

NHS 'reforms' put lives at risk

Issue No. 2296

A leaked document reveals that the Tory health bill puts patients’ lives at risk.

Andrew Lansley was desperate to suppress the NHS risk register, even refusing to comply with a ruling from the information commissioner.

But an early draft of the register was leaked this week. It rates many dangers as very likely to occur and with a very high impact.

The risks include:

  • Major emergencies becoming harder to manage—which can lead to more deaths

  • Doctors’ groups that will “go bust or have to cut services”
  • The priorities of privatisation taking over as “managerial processes… drive clinical behaviour (rather than the other way around)”
  • Loss of efficiency and accountability that “leads to delays and increased costs and poor performance”.

But the register also estimates there is a high risk of public opposition and “staff concern and union action”.

NHS for sale

Within days of the Health and Social Care Bill leaving parliament, private companies were snapping up bargains.

In a £140 million deal, community health services in Suffolk were handed over to Serco—a company better known for running privatised detention centres.

Even while the bill was being debated, bosses at the McKinsey consultancy firm were touting ideas for a “structural solution” at the indebted Heatherwood hospital in Berkshire.

At the same time, £20 billion of funding cuts are driving public providers under. Last week North West London NHS became the latest to announce its intention to close an accident and emergency department.

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Article information

Tue 27 Mar 2012, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2296
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