Cuts to NHS and social care services likely, says health select committee

The likelihood of cuts to health and social care services, and the destabilising effect of the Coalition’s market-driven NHS reforms, were endorsed today in a remarkable health select committee report. The committee, with a coalition majority and chaired by ex-Tory health secretary Stephen Dorrell, was reporting on implications and risks from the Spending Review.

Lansley: now scrutinised by his own side

Andrew Lansley has a new group to worry about in progressing his controversial NHS reforms – his Cabinet colleagues. It was confirmed this week that following concern within No. 10 and the Treasury, Cabinet “fixer” Oliver Letwin has been asked to scrutinise the reforms.

Public health aspirations undermined by wider coalition policies

Should a stark example of the impact of inequality be needed, look at health status and life expectancy. If everyone over 30 without a degree had their death rate reduced to that of people with degrees, there would be over 200,000 fewer premature deaths each year. This finding, in last year’s Marmot review of health inequalities, illustrated the report’s core message: “Inequalities are a matter of life and death, of health and sickness, of well-being and misery.”

Thin end of the wedge? Private firm to run NHS hospital

Imagine the letters “NHS” were removed from your local hospital’s name. Would that worry you as a prospective patient? This scenario has not happened yet – but is getting closer. Last week saw the announcement of England’s first district hospital where all clinical services will be run by a private company. With the coalition’s Health Bill imminent, concerns about NHS local care becoming a franchise for big private operators are moving centre stage.

Not so NICE: Warning of drug industry influence on NHS

No-one likes to talk about rationing health services, especially politicians. Yet rationing decisions are necessary in all health systems without limitless budgets, since demand will always exceed supply. The question is: who makes the decision, and on what basis?