British health system must reform or face crisis: minister

June 2, 2011

Britain's National Health Service faces a "financial crisis" in the next few years unless the government presses ahead with its under-fire reform plans, the health minister warned Thursday.

Andrew Lansley said he was prepared to accept "substantial and significant" changes to his plans to reform the NHS, but warned that maintaining the "status quo" was not an option as Britain faces up to an .

Lansley said the NHS would face a £20 billion-a-year funding gap over the next four years unless large-scale reforms were introduced.

By 2030, the number of over-85s is projected to reach 3.5 million, or one in 20 of the British population, placing an increasing burden on the NHS, Lansley said in an article in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"Our health service is facing huge challenges that, if not dealt with today, will almost certainly mean a crisis tomorrow," he wrote.

Under the radical reforms proposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, control for managing budgets would be taken away from local boards and handed to family doctors.

The reforms would also give the private sector a greater role in running , although Lansley insisted Thursday the Conservatives would "never" privatise the NHS.

"But if we choose to ignore the pressures on it, the health service will face a within a matter of years that will threaten the very values we hold so dear -- of a comprehensive health service, available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not the ability to pay," he said.

The proposals have come under intense pressure after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg opposed them and made them a key test of the continued cooperation of his Liberal Democrats, the junior partners, in the coalition.

The British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union for doctors, has also voiced strong concern.

In response, Prime Minister David Cameron "paused" the legislative process for the bill to allow a further consultation period, which ended on Tuesday and the government is expected to report back later this month.

Lansley promised the plans would be substantially modified.

"We have always been clear that we are ready to accept any changes -- substantial and significant -- if they help us improve care for patients," he wrote.

Explore further: Wales faces deepest NHS cuts of all UK countries

Related Stories

Wales faces deepest NHS cuts of all UK countries

May 25, 2011
In Wales, the NHS is set for a real budget cut of nearly 11% over four years, while England escapes the deepest cuts across the four nations, according to John Appleby, Chief Economist at the King's Fund in the British Medical ...

Recommended for you

Experts devise plan to slash unnecessary medical testing

October 17, 2017
Researchers at top hospitals in the U.S. and Canada have developed an ambitious plan to eliminate unnecessary medical testing, with the goal of reducing medical bills while improving patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

No evidence that widely marketed technique to treat leaky bladder/prolapse works

October 16, 2017
There is no scientific evidence that a workout widely marketed to manage the symptoms of a leaky bladder and/or womb prolapse actually works, conclude experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Ten pence restaurant chain levy on sugary drinks linked to fall in sales

October 16, 2017
The introduction of a 10 pence levy on sugar sweetened drinks across the 'Jamie's Italian' chain of restaurants in the UK was associated with a relatively large fall in sales of these beverages of between 9 and 11 per cent, ...

New exercises help athletes manage dangerous breathing disorder

October 16, 2017
A novel set of breathing techniques developed at National Jewish Health help athletes overcome vocal cord dysfunction and improve performance during high-intensity exercise. Vocal cord dysfunction, now also referred to as ...

Learning and staying in shape key to longer lifespan, study finds

October 13, 2017
People who are overweight cut their life expectancy by two months for every extra kilogramme of weight they carry, research suggests.

0 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.