Paediatricians warn of “extremely damaging effect” of health bill

More than 150 members of the Royal College of Paediatrics have today called on the health and social care bill to be withdrawn, reports Shamik Das.


Sign the petition to Drop the Bill.

More than 150 members of the Royal College of Paediatrics have today called on the health and social care bill to be withdrawn. The paediatricians are but the latest in a long line of health service professionals calling for the bill to be scrapped.

In a stinging rebuke in the Lancet, they say the bill will have an “extremely damaging effect on the health care of children and their families”, and their access to “high quality” and “effective” services, with “no prospect for improvement to the bill sufficient to safeguard the rights of access to health care by children and their families”.

In their view, “no adequate justification for the bill has been made”.

They write (pdf):

The costs of dismantling existing National Health Service (NHS) structures are enormous and, at a time of financial austerity for all public services, have resulted in precious resources being diverted to private management firms and away from front-line patient care.

We believe that the bill will undermine choice, quality, safety, equity, and integration of care for children and their families.

They describe the commissioning proposals contained in the bill as being more likely to “lead to increased power for private management organisations attracted to this lucrative opportunity to manage small Clinical Commissioning Groups”, adding:

Multiple private providers will make it difficult to innovate, cooperate, plan, and improve the quality in children’s services for which collaboration and integration are fundamental and the cornerstone to adequate safeguarding of our children.

The bill will be detrimental to the goal of integrating care for the most vulnerable children across health, education, social care, and the criminal justice systems in order to deliver good outcomes.

Accusing the government of misrepresenting the necessity of the reforms, and saying children and their families will be “worse off” as a result of the bill, their damning conclusion reads:

The bill is misrepresented by the UK government as being necessary and as the only way to support greater patient choice and control. On both counts that claim does not stand up to scrutiny.

Far from increasing choice, there is plenty of evidence amassing that these proposed reforms will in fact limit choice for all children and their families, increase inequalities, and harm those who are most vulnerable. Continuous quality improvement in our already high-quality NHS does not require this legislation.

Children and their families will be worse off because of the health and social care bill.

Our training, clinical expertise, and professional commitment to securing health and wellbeing for all children leads us to join with many others working to protect the interests of families and their children to call on the government to drop this bill.

Another day, another group of professionals who care deeply about the future of the NHS calling on the government to drop the bill… with the petition to kill the bill now nearing 140,000, just how much longer can David Cameron and Andrew Lansley continue to bury their heads in the sand and push ahead with these unwanted, damaging and costly reforms?

See also:

How the coalition is breaking the NHSAlex Hern, February 15th 2012

My open letter to the PM about the NHS billDr Kailash Chand OBE, February 14th 2012

NHS productivity gain is just the latest evidence that socialised medicine brings down costsDaniel Elton, February 13th 2012

ConHome: Neuter the Health BillDaniel Elton, February 10th 2012

The Financial Times comes out against the NHS billAlex Hern, February 9th 2012

Don’t believe the spin – the health reforms are Cameron’s just as much as Lansley’sShamik Das, February 8th 2012

Miliband goes on attack as fight to save the NHS stepped upShamik Das, February 6th 2012

GP in Cameron’s constituency: “Nobody supports the NHS changes”Shamik Das, February 1st 2012

Sign my petition to drop Lansley’s monsterDr Kailash Chand OBE, November 24th 2011

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