Prime minister wrong to claim we support Health Bill, say public health experts

Public health experts writing in this week's BMJ say the prime minister was wrong to claim they support the government's health reforms.

Last week over 400 public health doctors, specialists, and academics from across the country wrote an open letter to the House of Lords stating that the Health and Social Care will do "irreparable harm to the NHS, to individual patients and to society as a whole," that it will "erode the NHS's ethical and cooperative foundations and that it will not deliver efficiency, quality, fairness or choice."

The claimed that the letter actually supported aspects of the Bill, while the Secretary of State was dismissive, maintaining that people signed it without reading it, and that it was "politically motivated" and not supported by "a shred of evidence."

These claims were wrong, argue leading public today.

There was no qualified support for the Bill, they say. Nor did signatories write in a political capacity; they wrote in their professional capacity and with the public interest in mind. Nor are professionals alone in having concerns: the public, the BMA, and many of the royal colleges continue to express deep and continuing concerns.

There are many problems with the Bill, they warn, such as abolishing direct accountability of the Secretary of State to secure comprehensive care for the whole population, and the mechanisms and structures for securing that duty. The Bill will also usher in a new era of , they add, handing greater control of public budgets to the dictates of the market.

"We believe that the majority of healthcare professions reject this proposed transformation; and are aware of the clinical, professional, and ethical shortcomings of market based health systems such as those that exist in the United States," they write.

They conclude: "The secretary of state has called for a debate based on evidence. We agree. But this requires transparency about the evidence base and the intentions that have shaped the Bill. So far, the proposed structures do not conform to the goal of a universal and equitable health service, free at the point of delivery and accessed on the basis of need and not ability to pay."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

date 9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

date 9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Insurer Aetna to buy Humana in $35B deal

date 10 hours ago

Aetna will spend about $35 billion to buy rival Humana and become the latest health insurer bulking up on government business as the industry adjusts to the federal health care overhaul.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

date 13 hours ago

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.