Newspapers split on White Paper reforms

The reforms set out in the health White Paper have split newspaper reaction.

(Photograph: istock)
(Photograph: istock)

The reforms have been broadly welcomed by right-leaning press for putting ‘doctors back in charge’, while left-leaning papers have raised concerns about a move towards a ‘pro-market NHS’ and public sector job cuts.

The Daily Mail describes the White Paper as ‘A revolution in the GP’s surgery’, with ‘genuinely radical proposals’. But it does not miss an opportunity to mention GP pay. ‘Will GPs made rich by Labour’s disastrous reform of their contracts have the motivation or the skills to take on the extra work required to manage their own budgets, even if they do receive yet more pay?’

The Guardian says the White Paper unveils a ‘pro-market NHS’, with the Conservatives having prescribed ‘a dose of data as panacea for choice in NHS’. The Mirror headlines its coverage ‘Health warning’ and says thousands of NHS jobs are set to be lost.

This is in stark contrast to The Sun’s welcome of the removal of ‘thousands of NHS penpushers’ and The Express's description of the savings as coming from ‘taking the axe to bloated NHS management’.

In its leader, The Telegraph describes the reforms as a ‘gamble’ but says it includes ‘some welcome proposals’, such as increasing staff autonomy. But, it says, the extent of the reforms was unexpected. ‘Mr Lansley is proposing a considerable reorganisation, which is a surprise since such an overhaul was specifically ruled out in the coalition’s agreement.’

The Times focuses on the pressure facing family doctors as they take over £80bn of funds. ‘Nervous GPs given charge of 80% of NHS budget,’ the headline proclaims.

Coverage makes the front page of The Independent. ‘The NHS is to have major surgery. Again,’ it reads. ‘For the sixth time in two decades, the system faces radical reform,' it says.

'Each time, the government of the day has promised it is for "the long term". But how much more reform can the system take?’

Editors' blog: White Paper is Lansley's 'Do or Die' challenge to GPs

News blog: Bunker down, the White Paper's here

Click here for our full analysis of the health White Paper

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