UK's BoJo reportedly plans to give health secretary more control by reversing 2012 NHS policies as coronavirus pandemic continues
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to reverse the controversial NHS reforms introduced in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, returning elements of the public service to the control of the Secretary of Health.
According to reports, which cited a leaked government document, the changes would pull back on private sector and local involvement in the health service, giving the Secretary of State for Health more responsibility as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
In 2012, then-Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, working under Prime Minister David Cameron, controversially introduced the 2012 Health and Social Care Act which – as explained by the BBC – "gave more control over budgets to GPs and other clinicians, while greater competition with the private sector was encouraged."
The BBC reported on Saturday that Johnson's proposed changes "would see a reduced role for the private sector, while a system of contracts being put out to tender, with health groups sometimes competing against each other, would be scrapped."
News of the planned reversal drew mostly positive reactions in the UK, with many supporting the scrapping of some of Lansley's policies.
RIP Lansley reforms. Not before time. What a waste of billions of pounds.— Sonia Sodha (@soniasodha) February 6, 2021
Nine years ago @ConHome fought hard under my time as Editor to stop the Lansley health reforms. It was a shame that we didn't succeed but I really welcome today's news that Boris Johnson & Matt Hancock plan to largely ditch them.— Tim Montgomerie 🇬🇧 (@montie) February 6, 2021
"Andrew Lansley's 'reforms' of the NHS were imposed despite opposition by every Health professional body, while most of the media remained silent. Their removal, if real, is to be welcomed,"tweeted one Brit.
HuffPost UK's Executive Editor of Politics, Paul Waugh, was also optimistic, noting that, though the plans hint at "much less operational independence for the NHS" and "more ministerial control," things that the NHS has had control over during the Covid-19 pandemic, like "vaccination rollout" tend to "have gone well, whereas things it has no control over," like the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), have gone "less well."
V imp: White Paper plans much less operational independence for the NHS + more ministerial control.BUT in this pandemic, things the NHS has control over (eg vaccination rollout) tend to have gone well, whereas things it has no control over (Test and Trace/PPE supply) less well?— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) February 5, 2021
Critics, however, have expressed concern over the "little detail" provided in the plans so far, while Robert Colvile, the director of the pro-free market Centre for Policy Studies, commented: "I don't have much fondness for the Lansley reforms but am worried that we're also squeezing out choice/market mechanisms from the NHS."
"They don't work perfectly but command and control is even worse," he argued.
Tory plans for the NHS have been leaked. Looks like way more than a distraction from their serial failures. Lansley butchery re commissioning to be replaced by something but main points I see are that Health Sec gets control of everything, social care ignored, too little detail.— Paul (@PaulOnBooks) February 6, 2021
I don’t have much fondness for the Lansley reforms but am worried that we’re also squeezing out choice/market mechanisms from the NHS - they don’t work perfectly but command and control is even worse...— Robert Colvile (@rcolvile) February 6, 2021
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