Which direction should the NHS take?

In response to high-profile Tory MEP Daniel Hannan dubbing the NHS a ‘60-year mistake’, Health Secretary Andy Burnham has highlighted key Tory proposals that he believes would take the service backwards if the opposing party succeeds in the next elections.

As reported by The Guardian, the initiatives identified by Labour ministers as weaknesses in the Tory flanks include the proposal to hand over day-to-day control of the £100bn budget and 1.4 million staff to an independent board, the scrapping of Labour’s ‘three flagship waiting targets’ (that patients should receive treatment within 18 weeks of a referral by their GP; that all patients should be treated within four hours of arriving at an accident and emergency department; and that cancer patients should wait no longer than two weeks to see a specialist) and the possibility of reintroducing local pay bargaining.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has responded by insisting that a board specifically designed to improve patient care and an overhaul of old pay structures can only lead to rising standards.

But what are your views on the current debates surrounding the NHS? Leave a comment here and let us know.

The Policy Press offers a selection of books exploring the lively controversy of how our health services should be run, including David J. Hunter’s The health debate, Ian Greener’s Healthcare in the UK and Julian Tudor Hart’s The political economy of healthcare. Browse our Health subject pages to find out more.

Hannah Shah
(Temporary) Marketing Assistant

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