It is becoming clear now what Gordon Brown meant when he said that there would be changes in the way politicians deal with the NHS.
The more gullible of us thought he was going to end the micromanagement, doctor bashing and confrontational stance taken by Patricia Hewitt and the previous Government, but those of us who saw how Gordon worked while he was in opposition knew that what he says is seldom what he means. It now seems that the only change is to be an acceleration of the disastrous policies started by Milburn and taken up so incompetently by Patsy Halfwit
The Grauniad has an interview with Ara Darzi who, it seems, has been chosen so as to suggest that the medical profession actually agrees with the transfer of healthcare to the patients-for-profit sector and loss of local NHS facilities.
This looks like it might be quite bloody and I think Gordo's honeymoon might be short lived unless Ara is told to shut up and go back to his White Elephant of an underutilized* ambulatory care and diagnostic centre at the Central Middlesex Hospital.
When Ara recommended that the good folk of South Teeside might like to manage without a local hospital it caused a storm of protest. Now he is suggesting selling off the land that the London local hospitals stand on and (presumably) giving the money to the private sector to run shiny walk-in clinics for people with "nice" diseases. He doesn't say what will happen to those too old or sick to walk in.
* What is the current unfunded spare capacity in NHS treatment centres, including NHS Elect? (Dr Taylor, Q74)
In the financial year 2003-04, for the four treatment centres which are members of the NHS Elect network (Central Middlesex ACAD; Ravenscourt Park; Kidderminster; Weston-super-Mare) management information shows that they were working at 81% of their planned activity. So far in this financial year (to August), management information shows that they have working at 78% of their planned activity.