The NHS Bill – watch out Enterprise Britain

Two weeks ago this blog set out the argument that the proposed restructuring of the NHS could so absorb Government expenditure that any future support for Britain’s enterprising businesses could be affected.

The final stages of the Health and Social Care Bill are proving so controversial that the future is even more uncertain. The statistics are deeply worrying:

  • 151 Primary Care Units are to be replaced by 279 clinical commissioning groups reporting as hubs to four Strategic Health Authorities. This represents a massive overhead increase
  • These changes are expected to cost perhaps £3bn. The new national commissioning board has two executives on £170,000+ and seven board members
  • McKinsey and KPMG are already on multi-million pound contracts to support the commissioning process
  • The NHS is supposedly saving £20bn as part of the austerity measures. Staff numbers are being cut, waiting times are collapsing and targets are being abolished. In a late change Downing Street altered this objective to “saving up to £20bn…”
  • The Care Quality Commission, whose budget has been cut by 30%, has 900 inspectors to check 8,000 GP practices, 400 NHS Trusts, 9,000 dental practices and 18,000 care homes.

It is already known that some GPs are setting up clinics and referring their own patients to them.

It is probable that the Bill will pass through Parliament such is the fragile nature of the Coalition Government. It could be at least two years before the real truth emerges as doctors prepare to gorge themselves on the £80bn Andrew Lansley is giving them.

Whilst this is going on Britain’s equity markets are failing to provide the support to SMEs that is desperately needed. PLUS Markets is up for sale and the share price (£0.98p) suggests the market has written them off. AIM remains dogged by regulatory costs and is not supporting smaller companies. The Treasury has yet to launch its SEED EIS scheme (announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement) and is basing most of its fire power on trying to create specialist funds.

If this carries on we’ll all need a doctor. Unfortunately the NHS service will mean longer and longer waiting lists and to get immediate treatment may mean resorting to private health care.

That is exactly what will be the outcome of Andrew Lansley’s reforms. Disgraceful.

 

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