Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has written to the Secretary of State for Health following reports in today’s Observer of comments made by NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson. Nicholson warned a meeting of leading GPs earlier this month that Government plans could end in ‘misery and failure’. The NHS leader also cautioned against ‘carpet-bombing’ the NHS with forced competition as the Department of Health announced a major expansion of forced tendering for NHS community services.
Labour’s NHS Check last week unveiled the list of services being tendered in every community under the first wave of Any Qualified Provider and called on the Government to halt this policy pending a review of its impact on patient care – a call we reiterate in light of the NHS Chief Executive’s comments.
Andy Burnham MP said:
"The crisis of confidence in the Government's reorganisation gets deeper by the day.
"People will be worried to hear the man charged with implementing the Government's NHS reorganisation openly questioning it and predicting it could end in 'misery and failure'.
“We knew there were widespread professional concerns about Government plans to turn the NHS into a free market but it is now clear they go to the very top.
"At this critical moment, the NHS can't afford to have its Chief Executive and the Health Secretary in open disagreement. Jeremy Hunt should take a One Nation approach and listen to a man of David Nicholson's experience in the NHS. He should call a halt to the expansion of the Any Qualified Provider process and the top-down privatisation of NHS services."<div>