There has been a lot said about how the NHS reforms will affect doctors, NHS and PCT staff who no doubt have the best interests of patients at heart, but do have conflicts of interest – their jobs and their roles. I do not have any conflicts of interest. I have only one concern – the standard of healthcare I will receive. The complete dismantling of a system which has served us for over 60 years, leaves me fearful about my future care and with many unanswered questions.
Such fundamental changes require time for consideration with all views being taken into account, especially patients who will be the recipients of the reforms. With ‘consultation’ taking place whilst the Bill is being read and 52 consortia already in place, albeit a pilot, I don’t feel that patients have been involved in decisions about reform and wonder if lip service is being paid to the ‘consultation’.
I hope that you will be able to answer the above questions and the following unanswered questions:-
- Where is the evidence base to demonstrate that these reforms will produce a better standard of care for patients? Are patients going to be part of just a huge experiment that may or may not work?
- Many of us treated in both primary and secondary care, why are hospital consultants with their expertise not involved with GPs in designing services and how money will be spent?
- How can I have the promised greater choice and more involvement in my care when consortia will have already decided from which of the “any willing providers” they will purchase services? Will I be given an informed choice of treatment which, by definition, could be the information that the consortium cannot afford my treatment this year? Will I trust my GP to give me a truly informed choice when they are in control of the financial and administrative running of the NHS?
- The stated intention is to overturn the previous emphasis on targets and make quality of care and clinical outcomes the benchmark for setting service standards. Are “benchmarks” just a different term for targets? Who defines the benchmarks and are they set nationally or locally?
- Where is the logic in scrapping PCTs when the same work will have to be done by GP consortia while at the same time running their surgeries? Do GPs have these skills or will this management be farmed out to private companies?
- Apparently all hospitals have to become Foundation Hospitals, is this irrespective of the standards of care they offer?
- Given that the element of price competition between any will providers appears to have been removed, what role does Monitor have?
- Where is the accountability? What is the complaints procedure for patients if the level of care is not satisfactory or does not meet standards?
I would like to stop the Bill in its present form and slow down the process so that I can be provided with the evidence and the answers I need. I need “no decision about me without me” to become a reality.
I look forward to hearing from you.