Public uses DoH website to savage NHS reforms

An overwhelming majority of comments left on the section of the DoH website dedicated to the NHS reform listening exercise are critical of the government's plans.

Around 50 comments have been posted on the webpage for the NHS Future Forum, the group led by former RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field that is leading DoH efforts to engage with patients.

Many of the comments raised concerns relating to the introduction of competition, the lack of detail about the reforms in the government's election manifesto and the evidence base for the reforms.

One comment said the proposed reforms were a 'recipe for disaster'. It said: 'Competition has never worked for the NHS and will not do so. What patients want is good quality local services, not services miles away from home.'

Another claimed that there was 'no evidence' that increasing choice was the most efficient way to improve quality. 'Increasing choice decreases efficient delivery and effective use of funds,' the respondent said.

Other comments referred to GP commissioning, with some concerned about the size of some consortia.

Smaller consortia will have 'little clout' with large acute trusts, one respondent said.

'It is like David and Goliath. Only by having larger commissioning bodies can we improve quality and be cost effective.'

Another added that it would increase the postcode lottery in health services across England.

Meanwhile, others were angry that the government did not outline its reform plans in its election manifesto and warned that there was 'no evidence base' for the changes.

One comment said: 'When the government is reduced to dodgy data, misrepresentation and lies to justify its actions, then we should be very doubtful of what underpins the proposed changes.

'When the plans now revealed were clearly established pre-election, we should rightfully question why they were kept so very quiet.'

Another warned that patients and staff were 'being hoodwinked' by the government.

It said: 'Not only was this not in the manifesto, but it was stated that no "top-down reorganisation" would happen.'

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