Reports in the media this week include claims from Dr Mark Porter of the British Medical Association that the NHS modernisation plans will reduce the standard of health care provision to the 1930s.
In response, Health Minister Simon Burns said:
‘We are modernising the NHS so we can offer patients high quality care and improved health outcomes. Our cancer survival rates are among the worst in Europe so doing nothing is not an option.
‘We want patients to choose the best care to suit them, but that does not mean a compromise in quality. Only those who meet rigorous quality standards will be able to provide services.
‘The values and principles of the NHS remain unchanged, as set out in the NHS Constitution. We are investing an extra £10.7 billion and regardless of the type of provider, services will remain free at the point of use and based on need.
‘As a doctor himself, Dr Porter must be aware that the NHS has always worked with others from the independent sector, from social enterprises and from charities. The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations recognises the benefits of any willing provider, including promoting innovation and raising quality.
‘We are stripping out layers of bureaucracy and investing that money back into patient services. It means that GPs, not bureaucrats, will be able to make services more responsive to patients’ needs.’