Coalition health policies 2010

Contemporary Resolution to Labour Party Conference 2010

We deplore the coalition’s proposals for another reorganisation of the NHS, something they promised they would not do. Labour learnt that reorganisation is a diversion, not a solution. This chaos will cost £3 billion without counting the wasted time, lost opportunities and demoralisation of staff.

Involving GPs in the management of the NHS is good, but GPs are likely to turn to private sector management consultants to do it for them. There are more effective ways of giving doctors a say in management without this reorganisation. There are risks of conflict of interest and corruption. If my doctor’s decisions seem to be motivated by his bank balance rather than by my health our relationship will become less trusting, as is the case in some other health systems.

Giving patients choice is not a bad thing, but to imagine that market forces will drive improvement in the NHS is a delusion. The White Paper says little about how the quality of primary care can be improved; the variation in the quality of primary care plays a significant part in perpetuating health inequalities. Improving health services requires managers as well as doctors.

We need a health service which is more joined up, in which local communities are genuinely involved and seen as an asset to health, and where there is transparent democratic accountability under local authority control.