The proposed NHS reform is being defended by the health secretary Andrew Lansley as the solution to make sure the services don’t deteriorate and ensure that it can carry forward to the future.
According to Lansley, the NHS will not survive without the reform and it will experience potential crises if left as it is currently operating. Costs including looking after the increasing aging population and experimental new drug treatments are ramping up the costs to unsustainable levels, resulting in what he believes to be a required change to the way the NHS is structured. If changes are not made, the level of service offered to patients will begin to deteriorate without substantial extra funding and so a rethink in how it operates is required.
With the biggest shake up to the NHS since its inception in 1948, the reform has come under mass criticism from medical professionals. Lansley believes however that there is now a certain level of confusion around the reform, with critics distorting the information around what the framework actually hopes to achieve and how it will go about doing so.
Lansley’s strong stance on the reform has come under fire from his Labour opposition as operating under a siege mentality where he is incorrectly dismissing any criticism to his plans. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary has commented that this mentality is keeping Lansley from seeing the bigger picture, with his failure to listen to others. Further, Burnham has pointed out that the NHS has been independently judged as one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
The report is now in its seventh day in the review stage at the House of Lords. They will concentrate on sections including the regulation of assistants in health care and social workers, as well as the role of Public Health England chair. Labour are also trying to use the commencement clause that would see implementation pushed back to 2016 instead of the proposed 2012 start date. Excluding any unforeseen changes the bill is expected to gain approval on the 20th of March.