Milburn hits out against 'car crash' NHS

Labour MP Alan Milburn has attacked NHS reforms, saying they give less power to GPs and will result in 'patchwork quilt of decision-making'

Mr Milburn: ‘Every single local decision-maker will read that change as a signal to weaken competition, not strengthen it'
Mr Milburn: ‘Every single local decision-maker will read that change as a signal to weaken competition, not strengthen it'

The former Labour health secretary has described the coalition’s health reforms as the ‘biggest car crash in NHS history.’

Writing in the Daily Telegraph MP Alan Milburn said the government’s decision to take on board the NHS Future Forum’s recommendations had the ‘stench’ of a U-turn.

Mr Milburn accused the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of elevating ‘short-term politics above long-term policy'.

He warned that delaying the deadline for GP consortia would result in a fragmentation of services.

'GP consortiums that were supposed to be in place by 2013 now have no deadline for their creation,' he said. 'England will have a patchwork quilt of decision-making for years to come.'

GPs’ ability to drive more services out of hospital and into the community had been severely compromised, Mr Milburn said.

‘It is hard to see how the push for £20bn of efficiency savings will be realised without radical reconfiguration of how local services are delivered,’ he said.

Mr Milburn claimed that rather than giving power to GPs, the U-turn would give far more power to the NHS commissioning board, ‘the daddy of all quangos.’

Mr Milburn also spoke out against the changed role of Monitor, from promoting competition to promoting integration.

‘Every single local decision-maker will read that change as a signal to weaken competition, not strengthen it, and to protect the public sector incumbent over the private or voluntary sector insurgent,’ he said.

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