Observations From the Chair

Andy Burnham’s “whole person” care

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1239 (Published 27 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1239
  1. Clare Gerada, chair, Royal College of General Practitioners
  1. cgerada{at}rcgp.org.uk

The Labour shadow health secretary’s proposal for merging health and social care gives grounds for hope

On 1 April the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 will formally end the health secretary’s duty to secure or provide comprehensive health services in England and also the government’s responsibility to provide for all our health needs, free of charge. Instead a range of bodies, not directly accountable to parliament, will decide which services will be freely available and to whom.

From now on, it will be hard to know who is responsible for what and whom to hold to account when things go wrong, because the new act, with its emphasis on multiple systems of competing providers and commercialisation, lends itself to further fragmentation of care domains. Robert Francis’s report on Mid Staffordshire clearly shows the failure that resulted from increasing marketisation, as managers put performance and financial targets before the needs of patients.1

That we are living longer is self evident, but as we live longer many of us …

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