Chris Lancelot: Political crisis a lifeline for embattled NHS

MPs' snouts in the trough, the Speaker resigning - it has been a bad time for politicians. The mood across the country has been unanimous: parliament must be cleaned up.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg expressed it best: 'We now have a once-in-a-generation chance to change politics for good,' he told prime minister's questions. 'Expenses are just the tip of the iceberg.'

He is right. The rottenness of politicians is not expressed just in a lack of financial probity, but in the inappropriate decisions they so often make - choices that favour them, but do nothing for the electorate.

The UK has gone to war on the basis of an untruth; government has drawn power to itself while sidelining parliament; delicate ethical matters have been steamrollered into law without proper debate; and massive changes to the government's handling of confidential information were originally shoehorned into - of all things - a bill about coroners. It has been a shabby way to conduct the nation's affairs.

In the NHS we have seen blatant favouritism of funding - for Darzi clinics over 'ordinary' practices and for private firms over NHS hospitals. Government has been unashamedly spinning (lying) about GPs, our remuneration and our conditions, while undermining the stability of primary care.

And it is all about to stop. Now that we have discovered just how venal our MPs can be, how disempowered they have become, and how the checks and balances of power have been corrupted, there will be a huge swing towards cleaning out the whole system and starting again.

I see only good coming from this - and benefit for the NHS too. Once voters realise what a political football it has become - GP services designed by a surgeon, the power-mongering within PCTs, the exorbitant consultancy fees - they will want not just change but transformation.

Cleaning up the mess will take time, but if it is done properly we can look forward to the NHS being no longer a tool of the government. We might actually find that it is run by people whose first and only objective is the delivery of top-class healthcare.

And no - I am not dreaming. The day the Speaker resigned was the first day of the new NHS's life.

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