2022-11-28 13:29

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Yet Another Review Of The NHS Announced

Unusually for a Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt has intervened on the NHS by setting up a review of the new Integrated Care System to be headed up by a former Labour health secretary politician Patricia Hewitt who is now CEO of Norfolk and Waverley Integrated Care Board which is the worse performing ICS in England.

It can even be asked, what right has he to do so as the NHS is not within his remit as Chancellor of The Exchequer.

The answer to that relates to his previous role as Health & Care Secretary and of late prior to his appointment following the disastrous budget of Liz Truss’s 44-day premiership as Chancellor; as Chair of the House of Commons Health & Care Select Committee.

He has been extremely critical of the fact that to date Tory Governments have not insisted on NHS England having a 5-year Workforce Plan and indeed he had put forward an amendment to the Health & Care Act 2012 when it was going through Parliament which had it been carried; would have made the need for a 5 Year Workforce Plan with regard to safe staffing levels of clinical posts in NHS Hospitals.

The fact he has chosen Patricia Hewitt to conduct his NHS Review is interesting as she was a former Labour health secretary in the Labour Government that introduced private healthcare companies into the NHS and the creation of NHS Foundation Trusts which were necessary in order to facilitate the breaking up of the NHS and to eventually privatise it if the political environment allowed it to be done, all be it by stealth.

But it is also interesting to consider that other than Hunt himself, no-one in NHS England had any prior warning of his announcement of the Review of The NHS which was made as part of his November budget speech.

Apparently, the idea of the review followed conversations by text between himself and Patricia Hewitt in the days prior to the budget being presented to Parliament.

According to the HSJ website, Mr Hunt has unfinished business with the NHS:

“His time in post, and subsequently as chair of the Commons health and social care committee, convinced him of the need to restructure the NHS along the lines of the education sector – with fewer central targets and greater local autonomy.”

The intention of Hunt’s review is said to be in part to ensure centralised performance targets set by NHS England, are mainly abolished to allow a free-for-all for local ICBs to set or not; their own local targets.

It is further evidence of the intention to give total freedom to Integrated Care Systems and the Boards to determine what healthcare services they will provide and the number of private companies which will be given the right to provide NHS healthcare services.

Hunt apparently became quite passionate about the estimated 150 avoidable deaths that occur in the NHS every week which arise from basic medical error; writes Dr Rachel Clark in her article in The Guardian Newspaper which in part reviews Jeremy Hunt’s new book entitled Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a post-pandemic NHS.

She explained that Hunt contacted her prior to writing his book:

“To my surprise, he sat and actually listened, even when I told him that pretending to the public, he could build a safer “seven-day NHS” without increasing doctor numbers was not only dishonest but “completely moronic

Zero, it turns out, is a thoughtful, serious and well-written book that tackles an immensely important subject. On one level, Hunt is clearly moved by poor patient care. He describes repeatedly sitting with members of the public who share stories so grim they reduce him to tears. It is hard to imagine his successor, and infamous lockdown rule-breaker, Matt Hancock doing that.”, she wrote.

She emphasises Jeremy Hunt’s record as the longest serving Health & Social Care Secretary:

“During his six-year tenure from 2012 to 2018, Jeremy Hunt presided over a catastrophic decline in NHS standards, the pain of year-on-year austerity budgets, failed pledges to increase the size of the NHS workforce (those 5,000 extra GPs he vowed to deliver by 2020 shrivelled, in fact, into 1,425 fewer GPs) and, most infamously of all, a series of unprecedented strikes by NHS junior doctors.”

Given this fact, it is questionable that any review of the NHS ordered by him and conducted by a pro-NHS privatisation ex-Labour Health Minister will result in anything other than further problems for the NHS and its patients, and do little to change the appalling death rates caused by ‘mistakes’ in NHS Hospitals.

Source: The Guardian / HSJ

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