The Health Bill - The government's case (as requested)

John Redwood MP makes the case for the British government's new health bill

Do those protesting actually understand the benefits?
Sir John Redwood MP
On 1 March 2012 19:04

1.     It shifts power to GPs so they can get the best health care for their patients

The Bill abolishes two layers of administrators (PCTs and SHAs) and the money they now spend on health care will go directly to groups of GPs. GPs will decide how to spend that money working with other health professionals like nurses in what are called Clinical Commissioning Groups.

2.     GPs will be able to get health care from the NHS and other organisations. They must get the best treatments, not the cheapest and the Bill encourages GPs to give patients more choice

So, if you have a stiff shoulder you could go to an NHS hospital for physiotherapy or to your more local group of self employed physiotherapists. Your GPs can give you a choice between the two – or even more choice of where to go to fix your shoulder.

In Eastbourne some nurses left the NHS to set up a specialist wound healing clinic. It has a fantastic record of healing people who have suffered from serious problems like leg ulcers for years. GPs will be able to get treatments like this from other not-for-profit organisations, charities and organisations offering health care.

In Broxtowe people in need of help to control pain used to travel to specialist clinics at hospitals in Nottingham. Now their GPs have set up their own award-winning  local service – so no more trips to hospital as the service is now nearer to home.

3.     It  joins things up at a local level

Based on shire or unitary authorities one body called the “Health and Wellbeing Board” will bring together local health and social care services and public health. This Board will be a mix of doctors, other health workers, councillors and patients – all coming together to make sure there is a joined up way of keeping people healthy and making people better.

4.     It stops the current system that favours the private sector

The last Government discriminated in favour of private health companies doing work like knee operations. The Bill puts the NHS, not-for-profit organisations, charities and health companies on the same footing.

5.     For the first time there is a statutory duty on the NHS to reduce health inequalities

In 2005 the British Medical Journal commented. “The difference between the life expectancy of the richest and poorest in our country is now greater than at any time since Queen Victoria’s reign’ and under Labour the gap grew. The Bill makes it law that the NHS must work together to make sure people everywhere get the same great level of health care.

The Rt Hon John Redwood MP is the Member of UK Parliament for Wokingham and the Chairman of the Conservative Economic Affairs Committee. His articles are cross-posted on his blog by agreement

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