Lib Dems condemn Government health power grab

February 14, 2021 11:30 AM
By Cllr Ian Marks, Local Health Spokesperson

Liberal Democrats have condemned the latest set of proposals to reform the NHS because it hands more power to the Government, reversing many of the changes in the Lansley reforms of 2012. Local Health Spokesperson Cllr Ian Marks says:

imarksNo one argues with the declared aims of bringing the NHS and Social Care closer together and cutting red tape. The problem is that the Government has promised this closer integration for eight years but nothing has happened despite endless promises. Instead we have a continuing stream of minor reorganisations of our health service but still nothing on how Social Care should be properly funded. Transferring Public Health from the NHS to local councils has been a great success and I would be very worried if this was put into reverse.

In Warrington the pressures of COVID have shown the tremendous benefits of the NHS, Council Social Care and voluntary organisations working closely together. Many say the only benefit of the 2012 reforms is the independence of NHS England from Government. Just about everything the Government has touched during the pandemic has been a disaster such as PPE, track and trace systems and reacting too slowly to scientific advice. The vaccine roll-out is very successful but this is largely due to the NHS working with Council-run Public Health departments, not the Government.

With the NHS under such intense pressure, the last thing needed is another major reorganisation. As the British Medical Association Head says, the proposals must not be rushed through when frontline staff are exhausted.

Rather than a power grab by the Government, we need a greater say over health and social care to be given to local councils. Experience in Warrington and elsewhere has shown this works and gives the best outcomes for people.