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

October 18, 2011

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."

Explore further: UK government claims that patient choice improves health care is based on flawed research, experts say

Related Stories

UK government claims that patient choice improves health care is based on flawed research, experts say

October 9, 2011
Research which claims to show that the introduction of patient choice in the NHS reduced deaths from heart attacks is flawed and misleading, according to a report published in The Lancet today.

Republicans try to block funds for US health care reform

September 29, 2011
Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled a bill Thursday that would block funding for President Barack Obama's health care reform as long as it is contested in the courts.

Experts question merits of extending competition to improve hospital care

October 11, 2011
More research is needed before conclusions can be drawn about the effect of recent reforms on hospital quality, let alone about the merits of the coalition government's proposals to extend competition, warn experts on British ...

Recommended for you

Poor sleep could lead to heavier drinking in young adults, study finds

December 8, 2017
A shortened night of sleep may increase young adults' risk of heavier drinking, according to a new Yale study that assessed reciprocal variations in sleep and drinking over time in young adults.

Researchers say nutritional labeling for sodium doesn't work

December 8, 2017
Potato chips, frozen pizza, a fast food hamburger-these foods are popular in the American diet and saturated with sodium. Though eating too much can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, 90 percent of Americans eat ...

Observation care may save more than thought

December 8, 2017
In the world of health care spending policy, it usually works that as Medicare goes so goes private insurance on matters of managing the cost and quality of care.

Screen time before bed linked with less sleep, higher BMIs in kids

December 7, 2017
It may be tempting to let your kids stay up late playing games on their smartphones, but using digital devices before bed may contribute to sleep and nutrition problems in children, according to Penn State College of Medicine ...

Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth, says research

December 7, 2017
For some young people, dealing with life stressors like exposure to violence and family disruption often means turning to negative, risky behaviors—yet little is known about what can intervene to stop this cycle.

Teen girls 'bombarded and confused' by sexting requests: study

December 7, 2017
Adolescent women feel intense pressure to send sexual images to men, but they lack the tools to cope with their concerns and the potential consequences, according to new Northwestern University research published Wednesday, ...

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.