‘Keep up the pressure,’ is the message to members from CSP’s chief executive, Phil Gray, following increasing disquiet over the health care reforms to the NHS in England. Health secretary Andrew Lansley has announced an ‘NHS Future Forum’ to advise the government on ways to improve the reforms. It will be chaired by Steve Field, former chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and will seek the views of health professionals.
Mr Lansley and his reforms face growing opposition from many quarters, including the CSP. More than 250,000 people have signed an online petition on the 38 degrees website, calling for the plans to be revised. Increasing opposition includes a report from the Commons Health Select Committee, which wants Mr Lansley to set up NHS commissioning authorities rather than GP consortia. These would have statutory representation from a range of health care professionals and elected councillors. ‘We welcome the announcement from the health secretary that he is going to take the time to listen to views about the reforms and hope he hears and understands the grave concerns that people have,’ said CSP chief executive Phil Gray. ‘With the next stage of the Bill not now until May or even June, there’s still time for our members to keep up the pressure on their MPs and let them know how strongly they feel about the proposed changes. It’s not just about their jobs, more importantly it’s about the impact the changes will have on their patients.’
You can respond directly to the NHS Future Forum plan on the Department of Health website – see: www.dh.gov.uk/healthandcare