Row rages over ‘premature’ NHS reforms

MPs Yvette Cooper and Jon Trickett at Pontefract Hospital.
MPs Yvette Cooper and Jon Trickett at Pontefract Hospital.

GOVERNMENT bosses have been accused of ploughing ahead with controversial NHS reforms even before they have become law.

MPs approved the Health and Social Care Bill, which will hand more power to GPs and allow for private firms to run NHS services, at its latest reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

But the bill is yet to he considered by the House of Lords and could still be altered or even scrapped altogether.

Health bosses in Wakefield have already begun reorganising services to implement the changes. Wakefield’s Primary Care Trust will be scrapped and doctors have formed commissioning groups to consider bids from private and voluntary organisations when the changes come into force.

Phillip Earnshaw is chairman of the newly-formed Wakefield Alliance Clinical Commissioning Group. At a public meeting on Wednesday, he said: “It’s really difficult at a time when things are uncertain. We are pretending that the changes are going ahead and we are getting on with it, accepting that there’s just a small chance we have got it wrong and will have to reverse.”

Opposition MPs fear the bill will harm the NHS if companies run services for a profit. Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “I’ve been inundated with e-mails from constituents angry at the government’s plans to reform the NHS but the prime minister has chosen not to listen and is ploughing ahead with the changes.”