Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Chapter 4 - The Future of the NHS

This is a summary of chapter 4, written by Professor Steve Webb MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health (Lib Dem)

Professor Webb argues that the debate surrounding the NHS is unhelpfully polarised, and that an observer would be forgiven for concluding that there are only two possible positions.

Pole One: The market-driven approach:
This has merit of simplicity and argues that competitive markets usually deliver lower prices, higher quality and greater. If this works for supermarkets, the argument runs, it should also work in public services. [But is the NHS like a supermarket?]

Pole Two: The “do nothing” approach:
This is believing there is nothing much wrong with the NHS that can’t be solved by pouring in yet more money.

He believes the reality is that neither of these extreme positions stand up to rigorous scrutiny.
He discusses there must a third way. He goes onto discuss accountability, decentralisation, creating a pattern of local health services, determined locally and accountable locally. Finally, he suggests that prevention is better than cure and we need more emphasis on public health and encourages people to live healthier lives.

He also offers the metaphor that watching the current state of the NHS is like watching the NHS is being subjected to amputation with a rusty hacksaw.

To comment on this chapter please don't hesitate to contact me direct, or post comments on the discussion forum


Treehouse Surfer said...

it would be nice to see the main two parties talking about more decentralisation as well.

Editorial said...

Very interesting chapter.