Tories 'relaxed' about NHS crisis because they think election is won

The government is 'relaxed' about the crisis in general practice because it thinks Labour can't win the general election, a former GP and health commentator has said.

Dr Phil Hammond (Photo: Author image)
Dr Phil Hammond (Photo: Author image)

Former GP Dr Phil Hammond, who covers health policy for Private Eye, said that ministers were ‘very relaxed’ about the NHS because they believe there is no effective opposition.

Plans to create large-scale accountable care organisations to run health and social care services across the NHS would eventually lead to all GPs becoming salaried employees, he added.

Citing a source ‘close to Jeremy Hunt’ Dr Hammond told the annual conference of Londonwide LMCs on Thursday: ‘They don't believe that Labour is electable. They are very relaxed about the state of the NHS, very relaxed about the queues in casualty, waiting lists going up again, and the disaster in general practice, because they don't believe Labour offers a credible opposition.’

Dr Hammond said the Conservative government viewed the NHS as ‘a service for poorer people’ and wanted those who can afford it to take out private medical insurance.

NHS privatisation

‘They want private companies to do as much NHS work as possible. And they want the NHS to be allowed to do as much private work as it wants to do. That is their ideology and agenda and they don't believe there is an opposition fighting that.’

Dr Hammond, who was one of the first journalists to expose the Bristol babies heart scandal in the 1990s, warned GPs that under NHS England drive towards accountable care systems they could all end up in a salaried service.

The NHS, he said, was ‘keen to move to a model of accountable care organisations where we unify primary, secondary care, social care.’ 

He added: ‘Ultimately this will make all GPs salaried and working for large accountable care organisation in a particular area.’

The Conservative Party did not respond to a request for comment.

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