NHS has made us sicker, claims ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid as he demands overhaul of ‘frozen in time’ service
- Sajid Javid called for ‘dispassionate and honest assessment’ of the health service
- He said current structure has left Brits sicker than those in comparable countries
Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid has called for an overhaul of NHS, describing the service as ‘frozen in time’.
Ahead of its 75th anniversary on Wednesday, Mr Javid said that the current structure of the NHS has left Brits sicker than those in many other Western countries, with the UK having lower life expectancy and cancer survival.
The MP for Bromsgrove said both major political parties privately believe the NHS is ‘unsustainable’ in its current form and will be unable to cope with surging demand, despite record levels of funding.
He called for a royal commission to conduct a ‘dispassionate and honest assessment’ of the health service to ‘make sure the NHS is here in another 75 years’.
Mr Javid did not detail what reforms he would back but previously supported the idea of fees for visiting minor injury units and a £20 for GP appointments.
Ahead of its 75th anniversary on Wednesday, Mr Javid said both major political parties privately believe the NHS is ‘unsustainable’ in its current form and will be unable to cope with surging demand, despite record levels of funding
The number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England soared to a record 7.42million (red line) in April, figures show. More than 370,000 people in the queue for routine ops, such as hip replacements, were waiting for more than a year (yellow bars)
He told The Times: ‘No universal healthcare system is perfect, but when you compare health outcomes in the UK with similar countries, it is clear that for decades we have fallen short across successive governments.
‘It’s a direct consequence of how the NHS is still structured. Since it was established in 1948, the world has significantly changed — yet much of the institution remains frozen in time.’
Last week, a report by think tank the King’s Fund revealed that the NHS has fewer beds, scanners and doctors than many developed nations.
The UK also spends less than average on healthcare per person and ‘under-performs significantly’ on key outcomes such as life expectancy and cancer survival.
Mr Javid blamed Britain’s ageing population and the lingering impact of the pandemic resulting in the supply of healthcare being outstripped by soaring demand.
READ MORE: NHS chief Amanda Pritchard blames the service’s worst sickness rates on record on the ‘extraordinary’ response to the pandemic
The chief executive of NHS England said the service was still suffering the pandemic’s effects with a rise in mental health and respiratory issues among staff
The UK budget allocated the NHS 27 per cent of day-to-day spending in 2000 but this has now soared to 44 per cent and will soar above 50 per cent by the end of the decade if the current trajectory continues, he noted.
Mr Javid warned that the politicisation of the NHS hinders reforms and ‘serious conversations’ about its problems and fuels short-term thinking.
Mr Javid called for a royal commission to ‘break the current deadlock’, examine what reforms are needed and what the UK should be learning from other nations.
It would be made up of a cross-party committee that has the ‘legitimacy and expertise to detoxify the debate’.
The group would gather evidence and produce a report within a year after the next general election, with the Government then deciding whether to act on any recommendations.
Political parties are debating the future of the NHS in the run up to the general election. Last week, the Government finally unveiled its NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and Labour pledged to ‘rescue the NHS from the biggest crisis in its history’.
‘But behind closed doors, they know the current set-up is unsustainable. Saying that publicly is much more difficult,’ Mr Javid claimed.
‘Now is the time for the national interest to come to the fore with a collective mandate for reform. To make sure the NHS is here in another 75 years, we need a royal commission.’
It is unclear what reforms to the NHS Mr Javid would back.
The proposals are detailed in the first NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan, which is published today and supported by £2.4billion of Government funding
But he has previously suggested making wealthy households pay for some services, such as for attending minor injuries unit without a GP referral, pointing to Ireland where the charge is €75 (£64).
Norway and Sweden charge £20 per visit to the GP, which could make people think twice about whether they really need an appointment or could go to their local pharmacy instead, the MP said.
Mr Javid noted that there are ‘significant waiting lists’. Around 7.42million Brits were in the queue for routine hospital ops in April, including 370,000 who had been waiting for more than a year.
‘All of this is at a time of record funding for the NHS,’ he wrote.
‘The entire British state is on the verge of becoming a subsidiary of the NHS,’ Mr Javid added.
The Prime Minister last week detailed the ‘most ambitions plan in NHS history’ to slash waiting lists and boost the NHS workforce with 60,000 more doctors and an extra 170,000 nurses by 2036/37.
Bosses also expect to have an additional 71,000 allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, midwives and pharmacists.
The proposals are part of the first NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan, which is set to be backed by £2.4billion of Government funding.
Source: Read Full Article