As I write this, the e-petition asking that the Health and Social Care Bill be dropped as passed 132,000 signatures. This fantastic level of support is only surpassed by fuel prices, immigration and Hillsborough disaster.
With all the activity it has made me think about why so many people are worried about the implications of? the Bill. Last week in conversation with some business friends it became apparent that a key reason some businesses are resilient while others fail is the constancy of the core business.
What is the core business of the NHS? It is the delivery of health care. Who delivers this? Healthcare professionals.
Now, if your core business is fixed and the key people who deliver the product cannot go anywhere, your business will not fail even if the reorganisations, of which the NHS has known many, are destined to be short-lived.
UK readers may recall the launch of a fantastic sauce which was originally only available at Nottinghill Carnival: Reggae Reggae sauce. After a wonderful boost from members of the Dragons Den, Reggae Reggae sauce took off. Great! Yet, the key person involved in the product lost control of his business and sales and marketing folks thought to exploit the trade name by launching other products http://www.reggae-reggae.co.uk/go/products. Soft drinks and frozen snacks are not as catchy as the sauce – and the business is not thriving.
Back to the NHS. Imagine for a moment private firms and individuals are eyeing NHS businesses eagerly waiting for the opportunity to pounce to acquire profitable elements. What would make this attractive? To my mind, if employee costs were lowered by eroding General Practice profits and reducing value of pensions the prospect of assuming any NHS business would be more attractive.
It is clear the business itself will survive, if not thrive, while the core activity (healthcare) and the key people (HCPs) remain. A no-brainer. Whatever and whoever gets control of NHS cannot fail to make money.
This then is my concern about the NHS reforms which are proposed. There is a hidden danger inside this behemoth document – hidden within the document are opportunities to savage the public ownership of NHS.
The Trojan horse of privatisation is the risk faced by the country if the Health and Social Care Bill is permitted to pass into law. This must be stopped.
STOP PRESS – UPDATE Friday 17th Feb 2012
Along with RCR and RCPath, RCGP is not invited to crisis talks with Prime Minister on Monday 20th Feb 2012 to discuss the Health and Social Care Bill.
This is power politics in action and it shows HMG is running scared of the largest group of doctors who, BTW, are supposed to be in the driving seat for the reforms.
A cynical ploy to placate the medical elites. A blatant abuse of power.
A message to the public that this Government is unfit to look after the Country perhaps unless surrounded by sycophants.
So, will RCGP hold its own summit to defy HMG. I hope so! Come on Clare and Iona – continue our College’s defiance and get on the Social Media pages to launch an alternative to Cameron’s cosy gathering.