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Cameron pushes ahead with reforms but promises “substantive changes”

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3067 (Published 17 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3067
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

The UK prime minister, David Cameron, stepped in again this week to restate his commitment to the reforms planned for the NHS in England when he declared that “no change is not an option.” He warned that without reform the NHS will face a funding shortfall of £20bn (€23bn; $33bn) by 2015.

Speaking to staff at Ealing Hospital in west London on 16 May, Mr Cameron said that the NHS “needs to change to make it work better today, and it needs to change to avoid a crisis tomorrow.” But his speech did not provide any new insight into the details of how the NHS will benefit from the planned changes. It is at least the fourth time that the prime minister has spoken out in defence of the Health and Social Care Bill in the absence of the health minister, Andrew Lansley.

In a speech in which he confirmed his love of the NHS five times, Mr Cameron said that waste and inefficiency in the health service were a real problem. “This isn’t just about one-off cases we’ve all read about . . . like the £400 000 one health authority spent on a yacht. It’s the way the system can encourage overspending,” he said. Hospitals being bailed out if they failed to balance their books or being given extra funding because they fail to achieve outcomes were two examples. Too much top-down control was also stifling patients’ ability to choose, …

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